Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, made an initial emergency grant of $10,000 to help those who have fled the volcanic eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo.
In an urgent request to BWAid, Faustin Bashaka, the general secretary of the Baptist Association in Rwanda (AEBR) said that many fleeing the eruption had crossed the border at Gisenyi, Rwanda, and were seeking shelter in Baptist buildings.
He had spoken on the phone with one Congolese Baptist leader, now in Gisenyi, who reported that his Baptist headquarters, secondary and primary schools had been buried by the lava.
The emergency grant will be used to purchase food and cooking utensils to assist those who have sought shelter in Baptist buildings in Rwanda. However, with many thousands of people on the move, more funds will be needed to help those who have been made homeless.
BWAid is also in the process of sending a container of medicine and medical supplies to the Goma-based Union of Baptists Churches in Central Africa.
Mt. Nyiragongo is one of Africa’s most active volcanoes, and one of eight along the border between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The cities of Goma in Congo and Gisenyi in Rwanda are twin cities on the edge of Lake Kivu.
Goma is the base for two Baptist communities in Congo, the Union of Baptist Churches in Central Africa and the Union of Baptist Churches in Congo. Over the border in Rwanda, both the Baptist Association and the Baptist Union have work in the Gisenyi area.
This area of Africa has suffered greatly in recent years from manmade and natural disasters. In 1994 the genocide in Rwanda led to hundreds of thousands fleeing from Rwanda to Congo. In 1996 the area was invaded by Rwandan forces, and since then has mainly been under the control of Rwanda.
“We are possibly on the verge of an enormous catastrophe,” said Paul Montacute, director of BWAid. “Many people already undernourished and living in abject poverty, have now fled once again. Our Baptist communities in this part of Congo and Rwanda will need our support for many months ahead as they seek to bring relief. ”
Donations to BWAid’s Congo Relief Appeal’ may be made to Baptist World Aid, Baptist World Alliance 405 North Washington Street, Falls Church, VA22046, USA. Phone: +1 703 790 8980. Email: BWAid@bwanet.org. Contacts: Paul Montacute or Lee Hickman
Cheques in British currency should be sent to Baptist Union of Great Britain Baptist House, Box 44, 129 Broadway, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 8RT, England, UK. Phone: +44 1235 517700. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact: Philip Putman
For Germany and the rest of Europe, send contributions to the BWA Bank Account at Spar-und-Kreditbank Evangelisch-Freikirchlicher Gemeinden, Postfach 1262, 61282 Bad Homburg v.d.H., BLZ 500 921 00 Konto-Nr.791-03, Germany
Checks in Canadian currency should be sent to Canadian Baptist Ministries, 7185 Millcreek Drive Mississauga, Ontario L5N 5R4, Canada. Phone: +1 905 821 3533. Email: email@example.com.
Checks in Australian currency should be sent to Australian Baptist World Aid Inc, Locked Bag 122 Frenchs Forest, NSW 1640, Australia. Phone: +61 2 9451 1199. Email: Les.Fussell@abwaid.org Contact: Les Fussell.