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More than 170 children feared missing following volcanic eruption in Eastern DR Congo

A total of 150 children have been separated from their families and more than 170 are feared to be missing,…

A total of 150 children have been separated from their families and more than 170 are feared to be missing, the UN agencies said Friday.According to a statement made available to APA in Kigali, more than 5,000 people crossed the border into Rwanda from Goma as the slow-moving lava spewed, and at least 25,000 were displaced in Sake, 25 kilometers northwest of Goma.

“However, most people are slowly making their way back home since the lava has stopped flowing this morning”, according to the press release, noting concern that hundreds are returning to find homes damaged, and water and electricity supply severely disrupted.

It is not yet clear how many households have been affected by the eruption, said UNICEF. Scores of children in the area near Goma’s airport have been left homeless and destitute.

A UNICEF team has been deployed in the affected areas of Sake, Buhene, Kibati and Kibumba to provide first-line response, which includes installing chlorination water points in and around Sake to limit the spread of cholera.

The agency is strengthening surveillance for the deadly water-borne disease, especially in Goma itself, following residents’ return.

Two transit centres are being established for unaccompanied and separated children, working closely with Congolese authorities.

UNICEF said it would work with partners to refer any cases of gender-based violence or abuse, to provide adequate medical and psychosocial support.

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