Underpaid and under fire: The risky business of monitoring Congo’s volatile volcano

Author

Sophie Neiman

Source(s)
The New Humanitarian

[...]

Money is so short at the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO) that staff members complained of sometimes lacking fuel for field trips, having computers that can’t process hefty data sets, and wearing faulty masks that don’t protect them from gases spewed out by Mount Nyiragongo.

[...]

The volcanologists have also faced health risks as a consequence of their work. Charles Balagizi, a GVO scientist, said he had not been able to replace the filters in his gas mask – given to him by the US Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) in 2019 – for the past two years. His lungs have suffered as a result, doctors told him recently.

[...]

In an emailed statement to The New Humanitarian, a World Bank spokesperson said that – on completion of the grant – the organisation had emphasised to the Congolese government the importance of giving the GVO resources to cover its operational costs.

But the government appears not to have plugged the gap, while other donors failed to step forward, said Omar Aboud, who previously led the Goma operation of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Congo, known by its French acronym MONUSCO.

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