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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 25, 2002

President Announces Relief Effort for Congo
Statement by the President

On January 17, the people of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo suffered from an enormous natural disaster.  Many homes, shops, roads, and schools were buried, and many lives were lost or disrupted, by the flow of molten lava from Mount Nyiragongo.  The Congolese people have shown enormous spirit and resilience, already returning to the land where their homes once stood to recover and rebuild.

I commend President Kabila of Congo and President Kagame of Rwanda for working together to address the humanitarian needs of the people of Goma who have been hurt by this volcanic eruption.  The United States will help the victims of this disaster, and we have already allocated up to $3 million for relief efforts.  I have sent a team of experts from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to the region to assess how this aid can be directed most effectively.  At the same time, I have ordered the immediate dispatch of two relief flights carrying blankets, shelter material, and water storage equipment to support the most urgent needs of the Congolese people.  The United States will continue to work closely with the international community to help those affected by this disaster to rebuild their town and their lives.

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