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UN appeals for 15 million to aid town devastated by volcano in

Launched this morning in Geneva, the interagency flash appeal by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is intended to cover the immediate needs of some 400,000 people for the next 15 days.Of the total, $4 million is earmarked for emergency food aid, $2 million for non-food items such as blankets and household kits, and $3.5 million to cover water and sanitation. About $1.5 million will go to care for respiratory infections, water-borne diseases and other illnesses, and another $2 million will provide shelter and temporary resettlement for those who lost their homes.Meanwhile on the ground in Goma, UN officials reported that food distribution in the town would begin tomorrow, with six sites set up in Western Goma and four sites in Eastern Goma. There will be an additional site in the town of Sake, to the west.People continued to return to the destroyed city, both from other towns in the DRC and from neighbouring Rwanda, where an estimated 5,000 Congolese still remain. In Kigali today, Ross Mountain, the UN’s Assistant Emergency Coordinator, met with the visiting Foreign Ministers of France and the United Kingdom, Hubert Vedrine and Jack Straw, to discuss the crisis.According to a UN spokesperson in New York, a Congolese volcano expert, Wafula Mafungu, and a European colleague, Jacques Durieux, sent in by the UN, have determined that volcanic activity has subsided and no immediate further activity was foreseen. However, both stressed that further detailed, technical analysis must be conducted, and future monitoring was needed.Meanwhile UN officials were meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations and local agencies to prepare for another volcanic eruption.Preliminary results of testing in Lake Kivu indicated that its water remains potable despite the rise in temperature, the spokesman said. Getting safe water to the population remains a problem however, due to the damage suffered by the town’s water distribution system.

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