Nyiragongo Volcano Emergency Support to displaced people from Goma and host families (DRC)

Mount Nyiragongo erupted on 22 May, 2021. Thousands of residents from Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were displaced after authorities issued an order to evacuate areas that were at risk from further volcanic eruptions. The majority of refugees walked all the way from Goma-Bukavu, 191-193 km.

Diamonds for Peace in collaboration with a local NGO, the Congo Basin Conservation Society Network (CBCS-Network), assisted 20 refugees and host families with food as well as cash amounting to twenty USD per beneficiary to cover essential living costs for that critical period. Extremely vulnerable families who hadn’t received any other assistance were selected as our beneficiaries, such as households with pregnant or nursing single mothers, low-income host families with earnings of less than USD10 per month, households containing more than 8 family members, and so on. The distribution of the food and cash took place on June 30, 2021 in Bukavu.

Diamonds for Peace decided to provide this emergency assistance because DRC is a country with rich mineral resources including diamonds, and thus there are many miners there in need of support. The number of artisanal and small-scale miners is estimated to be between 500,000 and 1 million in DRC[1].

CBCS-Network staff gives food to a beneficiary

Testimony of Beneficiary 1: Mrs. BUFUKAMA Lylie

Bufukawa Lylie

I am Mrs. BUFUKAMA Lylie, a 31-year-old resident of Bukavu. My husband ITONGWA ETABO Lionel and I have four children. On May 27, 2021, we welcomed a family of seven people (a woman and her six children, including three boys and three girls) from the neighboring province of North Kivu in Goma. My husband was unemployed, but we could not let people spend the night outside the house, so we felt obliged to share everything with the family. We experienced an extremely difficult situation to sustain our daily life, but CBCS and Diamonds for Peace provided us with food and cash without requiring any money in return, as is often the case for other organizations. The assistance received allowed us to cover the food needs of my family, and the cash allowed me to strengthen my capital in the craft industry where I make bracelets and sandals like the ones I have on my feet.

Testimony of Beneficiary 2: Noëlla MWENGE

My name is Noëlla MWENGE and there are nine people in my family. We are citizens of the city of Goma that was affected by the eruption. I have always been a trader, but I lost all my commercial activities and sources of income when the military governor ordered the evacuation of the city after the Goma Volcanological Observatory issued an alert. My family experienced very difficult conditions with a host family here in the city of Bukavu. We had no food, no clothes, no proper rent, and no proper medical care system installed by the government. Thanks to the assistance provided by the Diamonds for Peace and CBCS, we received food for the children and the host family members. The cash assistance allowed me to start a small business activity of preparing and selling doughnuts to replenish my small savings to support the family during this hard time. I intend to return to the city of Goma in the days to come and if possible restart my former commercial activities.

Noella receiving food

Front photo: Group photo of the beneficiaries and CBCS staff ©Congo Basin Conservation Society Network

[1] DR Congo, The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (Germany)