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Health threat as Volcano strikes Congo

Added: (Sat Jan 19 2002)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Health threat as volcano strikes Congo

The eruption on 17 January of Mount Nyiragongo, near Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has created a massive health emergency for over 400,000 people. Merlin, the UK charity providing health care in crises, was in Goma at the time the earthquake struck and has been responding ever since in co-operation with local people and international agencies.

Over 50% of the health centres in Goma have so far been destroyed, including 2 out of the 4 hospitals, and the water supply from nearby Lake Kivu has been disrupted. Emergency efforts are currently underway to rescue thousands who remain trapped in-between 2 sets of Lava flows in the middle of the town.

Local and internationally staffed Merlin teams are currently working in Goma, Gisenyi and Kigali in Rwanda, and Kenya and more staff are being flown out over the next few days. Merlin is working right now to set up health points within the next 48 hours, focussing on basic healthcare, diarrhoea and burns. It will also use its medical supplies to fight the threat of infectious and water-borne diseases, particularly Cholera.

Merlin is launching an appeal to the British public to support the people of Goma. Donations can be made by visiting Merlin’s website (www.merlin.org.uk), telephoning 020 7378 4888 or by sending donations to Merlin (DRC), Freepost LON 15423, London SE1 1BT.


Notes for Media

Merlin is the UK charity that provides live-saving healthcare for people in crisis and disaster situations, around the world, fighting diseases of poverty, providing antenatal care, training health professionals and rebuilding local primary and reproductive health care systems for vulnerable populations.

Merlin has been working in the region since 1994, providing health care to local people and refugees affected by poverty, conflict and natural disaster. In 1996, Merlin was instrumental in assisting Rwandan refugees, receiving the Pierre Strauss award for paediatric care for its work in the Ndosho orphanage.

Merlin is a registered charity (1016607) that relies on public support:

For further information contact Merlin's press office:

Jonathan Harper
Email: jon.harper@merlin.org.uk
Tel: 020 7378 4843

Nigel Impey
Email: nigel.impey@merlin.org.uk
Tel: 020 7378 4844
Mobile: 07775 933013

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