May 31 (UPI) — More than 500,000 are at danger of having prolonged water access issues following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, health experts said Monday.
Mount Nyiragongo erupted on May 22, killing at least 31 people. While many have returned to the area it is unclear how they will manage without clean water, Doctors Without Borders said.
Waterpipes from the city of Goma’s main reservoir were damaged in the eruption. The irrigation system serves over 500,000 people living in the area.
The organization, known as Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF in French, is asking other humanitarian organizations to step in and help.
“We are assisting the immediate needs of displaced people, but it is not enough,” Magali Roudaut, MSF head of mission in DRC, said. “More clean water should be urgently provided; cholera is endemic in the area and poses a huge threat to people, including to the host communities.”
Buildings have been damaged and collapsed in some areas and basic needs such as water, electric and healthcare are in scarce supply.
The area was evacuated after the eruption but without anywhere else to go residents have returned as lava flows subsided.
“There are urgent needs that are still unmet such as food, latrines, shelters, blankets, and jerrycans for water,” Roudaut said. “We demand urgent support of other humanitarian organisations to assist people.”
The eruption was the first since in the DRC 2002 when 250 people were killed. After that eruption 120,000 became homeless.