BUKAVU, June 7 -- On May 22, local time, the Mount Nyiragongo volcano, 18 km north of Goma, North Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), started to erupt, causing casualties and wrecking houses heavy damage. Many evacuees were forced to flee their homes, some of whom were transferred to Bukavu, South Kivu Province, where the Chinese peacekeeping engineer contingent is stationed.
Due to long-term rain erosion, a section of the N2 Road, the main artery leading to Bukavu, collapsed, forming a gully 45m long, 3m deep and 2.5m wide, with which the traffic was completely interrupted. The N2 Road is the only main road for the transfer of evacuees from north to south. If it hadn’t gotten connected soon, the evacuees would have been late in arriving at the resettlement site, resulting in secondary distress.
On May 27, the 24th Chinese peacekeeping engineer contingent to the DRC received an order from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to carry out an emergency repair on the collapsed section. They set up an emergency response team to rush to the scene in five consecutive hours carrying engineering equipment and rescue materials.
By the time the emergency response team reached the operation scene, it’s estimated there were no more than six hours before the evacuees’ arrival. However, despite the high temperature and occasional earthquakes in the operation area, the Chinese peacekeepers managed to repair the collapsed section on time. When the vehicles passed smoothly, many local people gave thumbs up to the Chinese peacekeepers.
After the rescue mission, the Chinese peacekeepers did not return to their camp; instead, they set up tents near the operation area to support the evacuation of the MONUSCO staff and victims bit by bit. In addition, they also set up stations for water delivery, distributed hot meals to personnel passing by, and offered treatment to the injured.
As of now, the Chinese peacekeepers have ensured the passage of more than 700 vehicles in 10 waves, distributed drinking water and food to the people passing by, and treated more than 10 injured people.
It is learnt that since entering the mission area, the 24th Chinese peacekeeping engineer contingent to the DRC has proactively offered treatment and medicine to the local injured, rescued local vehicles trapped many times, established a communication mechanism with local schools, and presented sports goods to local children while completing the various tasks including emergency road and bridge repair, and helicopter apron construction. They have been highly praised by all sides for their practical actions.