- (Above) Lava flowing
into Lake Kivu.
then went down to the shores of Lake Kivu. There was steam coming up
from the edge of the lake where the magna was flowing into the
water. There is some concern, we were told, about the effects of the
lava on the lake, and if it may have any effect on its bottom. These
fears are not unfounded. As the Bishop was being interviewed by ABC
TV (Australia) there was a noise, Phut – Phut – Phut, and soil
shot into the air followed by steam. It was only ten feet away from
us, and we made a hasty retreat from the lakeshore.
then went to a meeting which included many people from Goma, and
Gisenyi on the Rwandan side of the border also present were
representatives of Action by Churches Together, ACT, an umbrella
organisation for Christian based aid, Christian Aid in the UK,
Norwegian Church Aid, and Lutheran Aid. The fluidity of the
situation became apparent – It seems that people go back to Goma
in the day and that some then return to Gisenyi in the evening. They
go to the churches for sanctuary, and even though the Rwandan
government disapproves they are provided with accommodation. “Is
that not why we are here?” they asked. It also emerged that many
of the houses that people may go to are damaged even though they may
not have been in the lava flow – the high winds which came with
the lava brought roofs down (they are made of iron sheet) and
areas of Goma have water or electricity supplied from DRC or Rwanda,
but these are only on the edge of town, away from the destruction.
The main power plant is under lava.
LWF Food distribution.
the way back to Ruhengeri we stopped at two refugee camps, Nkamira
and Cyuve. I have seen refugee camps before, but nothing like this.
These were people who, just four days before, had been living
perfectly normal lives in a town nearby, and through an immense
natural disaster had had to flee their home with only the few things
they could carry. One man said to me “These are all I now
possess!” as he run his hands over the clothes he was
LWF with Eer Par Ner provides kitchen sets to Ruhengeri transit camp
lives now seemed to consist of queuing for registration, for
handouts of various sorts, or whatever else was decreed. There was
smoke everywhere – it came from the wood fires people were using
to cook whatever food they had. There seemed to be no privacy –
people were mostly housed in large tents, rather than having
individual accommodation. It is easy to condemn people who become
refugees for their un kept state, because they are dirty, and their
clothes smell, or just because they are refugees, and I had to keep
reminding myself – these are people who just 4 days ago were
living a normal life. They do not want to be here, and the fact that
they are is not their fault.
is a poor country which has itself been devastated by war and
genocide. It is now at peace, so it is easy to condemn the
Government for lack of care, but from what I have seen they are
doing the best they can with the meager resources available. There
is a desperate need for help. Fortunately for the present situation
many aid agencies are already here.
have to pay a special tribute to Bishop John and the leadership he
is providing. Since I have been here he has been working tirelessly
to help and support the people in need. He had an important service
last Sunday – an ordination that should have been followed by a
reception outside. Plans to hold the service in the open and the
reception were cancelled because of the number of refugees he was
accommodating in and around the cathedral. The dormitories of his
own guest facilities were a seething mass of people, and every
available room was used for sleeping.
church here reflects the poverty of its people. They do not have
money to give the church so the church does not have money. However,
the Bishop is working in faith that he will get the resources he
needs from somewhere, and is spending whatever he needs to at
present. Please pray for him, that his health may hold good, and
that he may have the needed resources."
by A Hobson and
by Thomas, who works for Lutheran Aid.
to main page!
- Two of the Past articles:-
Come & Give For Rwanda.
October 2001 = Rwandan Crier visits Formby to say
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of the page.