The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on May 22 loosened water pipes and damaged a huge 5,000 m³ reservoir, the agency said on Monday.
Fears of cholera
Without access to clean water and sanitation, children and families are at greater risk for waterborne diseases, such as cholera.
“Cholera is particularly dangerous for the very young, the very old and the undernourished, so an epidemic could have disastrous consequences for children”, She said In Hye Sung, Unicef emergency specialist.
“Children under 5 have the highest incidence of cholera and are most likely to die from it, so it is vital to ensure that families have access to clean water as soon as possible.”
Forced to flee
Thirty people were killed and around 3,500 others lost their homes due to the volcano’s eruption.
In the wake of the crisis, dozens of people fled Goma to neighboring cities, either because their homes were destroyed by lava or because the authorities advised them to leave for fear of another eruption.
Together with national and international partners, UNICEF is working on the water issue, including supporting the state-owned water company to redirect and secure a bypass piping system that will send supply from the pumping station near Lake Kivu, in part. of the main water system.
Since previous cholera outbreaks in Goma began when residents collected dirty and contaminated water for drinking, UNICEF has installed 15 emergency chlorination stations near the lake.
The situation in Buhene, a district flattened by lava, illustrates the impact of water shortages. Hundreds of people had to queue for water supplied by a truck connected to a pump, as a temporary measure.
UNICEF, along with humanitarian partners Caritas and AVUDS, were among the first agencies to transport water to tens of thousands of displaced people in the nearby towns of Sake, Rutshuru and Minova, and are now doing the same in Goma.
The road haulage operation was intensified, with the aim of providing emergency water supplies to around 200,000 people. It will be downsized once Goma’s water network is partially functional again.
UNICEF is also part of a task force that is supporting the installation of 1,500 meters of pipe above the lava to replace the pipes that have melted. The pumping station will be reconnected to distribution basins in the hills above Goma, which were not damaged during the eruption.