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ICRC delivers basic drugs to health centres in Goma

24-01-2002 News Release 02/07

Goma/Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is delivering basic drugs to five health centres in the city of Goma following last week's volcano eruption. Each shipment contains sufficient drugs to treat 1,000 people during a three month period. " We are out of stock of pretty much everything " , said Pascal Makasi, who works in the Ndosho health centre in western Goma. " Now we can start again and take care of the most vulnerable patients " . According to Mr Makasi, many patients have eye problems and breathing difficulties because of the ash and fumes emitted by the lava covering parts of Goma.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the ICRC are continuing their efforts to reunite family members separated by the disaster. The Red Cross has been approached by more than 200 parents looking for their children. Voicing the feelings of many of Goma's people, the provincial secretary of the Congo Red Cross, Felicien Lutumba, described the volcanic eruption as " an unprecedented disaster which has destroyed much of the city's economy and many schools " . The National Society currently has about 500 volunteers in action in and around Goma.

One of the ICRC's main priorities remains restoration of the water distribution system in Goma. Working with the local water company, Regideso, the Red Cross hopes to be able to bring about 80% of the system back into service within the next two weeks.