from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA – A DONATION of US$50 000 to launch a fund to support communities affected by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a timely intervention.
The Vodafone Foundation is launching a fund with Vodacom.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will manage the fund.
It will assist those displaced by the disaster with survival kits, including emergency shelter materials, blankets, sleeping mats and sanitary items, among other material.
No less than 32 people have died in incidents linked to the eruption, including seven people killed by lava and five by asphyxiated by gases.
Thousands of Congolese were forced to flee their homes when the volcano, which contains the world’s largest and most active lava lake, erupted on May 22.
Andrew Dunnett, Director, Vodafone Foundation, noted the significant disruption had on the people of North Kivu, destroying villages, splitting up families, creating electricity and water shortages as forcing thousands into temporary accommodation.
“The donation from Vodafone Foundation’s Humanitarian Fund will support those displaced during these difficult days. Our thoughts are with our colleagues and communities affected by this tragedy,” Dunnet said.
Vodacom Congo’s campaign to raise funds for those affected by the volcano using M-PESA will be named ‘Pole Sana Goma’, which simply means ‘we are sorry’ in Swahili.
Vodacom Congo also provided free bundles of calls, data and texts to its customers to stay connected with their families in the North Kivu region, of which Goma is the capital.
The company pledged to also support the DRC’s early warning centre with free connectivity.
“For 19 years, Vodacom Congo’s main goal in the DRC has been the wellbeing of communities, and this time is not different. Thus, we are doing everything within our capacities to help the DRC Government in his efforts to navigate this crisis,” said Anwar Soussa, Managing Director of Vodacom Congo.
– CAJ News