In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, approximately 2,000 people whose homes and fields were destroyed by a volcanic eruption, have created temporary homes made from plastic bags and sticks while they wait to be rehoused.
The families, who lost everything when Mount Nyiragongo erupted, are concerned about the problems they will face in their makeshift accommodation during the rainy season.
Sifa Asikuye sleeps in a small makeshift tent with her two grandchildren that she has been raising since her daughter died 12 years ago.
“This situation it’s a catastrophe, really” Asikuye said while showing the small space which she lives in and where she keeps the few pots and plates she took when leaving her house after the eruption.
“When it rains I don’t move from here, I don’t have anything to cover myself with,” she said. “In the name of God, we have been here for months”.
Even with the government building temporary houses and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) helping those affected by the eruption of Nyiragongo – the humanitarian crisis in the region persists.
“We don’t have houses and all my fields (to cultivate) were burned by the lava. When it rains, it is like the end of the world,” said 56-year-old Liliane Simba while cutting some vegetables outside the tent that she shares with another person.
The concern with the rainy season is not just about the lack of housing but also about the increase of diseases during that period.
“The rain, with this population, bring risks of many diseases,” said Jean Claude Mambo Kawaya, President of the Civil Society of the Nyiragongo region.
Tens of thousands of people left the city of Goma and the surrounding regions when Mount Nyiragongo erupted on May 22, 2021, spewing lava near the city while destroying houses and killing more than 30 people.
The displaced residents were forced to move again one week later when authorities raised the alarm due to the possibility of another volcanic eruption.
Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, also erupted in 2002, leaving hundreds dead.
The lava coated the airport runways and also left more than 100,000 homeless in the aftermath.