News / Africa

Oxfam: Power, Water Shortages in Goma

Congolese flee the eastern Congolese town of Sake, 27km west of Goma, Friday November 23, 2012.
Congolese flee the eastern Congolese town of Sake, 27km west of Goma, Friday November 23, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
As fighting continues in the eastern DRC between government forces and M23 rebels, the humanitarian crisis is growing worse. Oxfam says it’s stepping up efforts to help about 80,000 people in and around Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province.


M23 rebels took over Goma last week, disrupting humanitarian operations not only in the provincial capital, but in surrounding camps for the displaced.

Oxfam’s Christina Corbett is in Goma, where thousands of people have sought shelter in schools, churches and elsewhere. She said, “People are trying to carry on with a normal life. They’re trying to go about their daily business. Most of the shops are open. Banks are still closed, but certainly the smaller shops are all open and people are carrying on as usual, but there is certainly a feeling that they don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

There are electricity and water shortages in Goma.

“Goma is very poorly resourced to deal with the high concentrated numbers of IDPs that have come here and in the surrounding areas as well. Obviously, without enough clean water, sanitation becomes an issue, and disease outbreaks are a huge concern for us,” she said.

Oxfam specializes in providing clean water and sanitation.
It’s providing assistance at camps for IDPs, or internally displaced persons, including the Lac Vert Camp on the edge of Goma, and the Mugunga 1 camp. Construction of water systems is also expected to begin soon at a new camp at Bulengo.

Corbett said, “We’re working in two of the largest IDP camps to the west of Goma. In one of them we’re trucking in fresh water, because at the moment there is no water infrastructure there. In the other camp we were previously working there. We already had in place a water infrastructure system, which we’re now rapidly having to expand. We also are building latrines in those camps and we’re building latrines in another site in town.”

About 40 latrines have been constructed at the Don Bosco Catholic center in Goma.

“There are about 8,000 people there. They have absolutely nothing. Inside the compound, there are several buildings and people have hung plastic sheets from the sides of the buildings. And they’re just living around the edges of the buildings,” said Corbett.

Many are making their beds on Goma’s hard volcanic rock terrain.

Corbett said what’s happening in Goma is part of the bigger conflict in North Kivu Province, which is home to many armed groups. They’ve attacked and looted villages and killed and raped civilians – women, children and men.

“There is fighting in other parts of North Kivu. We know there’s fighting in Masisi. We know people are being displaced there because of the insecurity. We don’t have access, and that’s also a huge concern for us, because all eyes are on Goma at the moment. It was such a strategic prize and it’s a very important place; and it marks the latest development in the conflict. But there’s also a lot happening in other places,” she said.

The Oxfam spokesperson added that many of the displaced have lost all sense of home. She says they’re ready to move at a moment’s notice to find a new safe place.

  • Shops closed in Sake a day after M23 rebels took control of the town following overnight battles with the Congolese army, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow/VOA)
  • Fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people from the town of Sake, west of Goma, DRC, November 23, 2011. (G. Joselow/VOA)
  • With IDP camps filling up since the rebellion in eastern Congo began in April, newly displaced people are sleeping in churches until they can find a place to settle, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow/VOA)
  • Displaced people from the town of Sake gather at the Mugunga camp on the road to Goma, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow.VOA)
  • Families flee fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels in the town of Sake, DRC, November 23, 2012. G. Joselow/VOA)

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid