Since the end of October, tens of thousands of people fleeing fighting with the M23 group have joined those already settled for months in sites for displaced people in Nyiragongo territory, a few kilometres north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.The humanitarian situation there is worsening as, next to the host communities, more than 177,000 people are now trapped in dire conditions, at the mercy of bad weather and epidemics.
“Given the lack of food, shelter, latrines and showers, all the ingredients are there for a health disaster,” says Simplice Ngar-One, MSF project coordinator. “The increase in cholera cases in recent days is another indicator of the deteriorating situation and the blatant lack of humanitarian assistance.”
Conditions conducive to cholera
"I fled my village with my six children and my husband a month ago and since then we have received almost no help”, says Nyira Safari, who is sitting with her daughter Zawadi in the MSF-supported Kanyaruchinya health centre.
“We have neither showers nor toilets. To feed my family, I go to the fields to try to find some potatoes, despite the risks involved,” says Nyira. “For two days, Zawadi has been suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. She was very weak and could barely stand. That’s why I came here.”
Zawadi, 8, is among the patients with suspected cholera arriving daily to be treated by MSF in the supported facilities in Kanyaruchinya and Munigi, two areas where many displaced people have settled.