Report in Goma camp interview Sister Sabina Iragui and Catherine Lefèvre (MSF) on cholera and on refugees being manipulated by “genocidaires” - France 2 - 22 July 1994


In French (en français).


TV presenter: "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. The veritable human disaster unrolling in Rwanda as we speak is without a doubt the worst we've seen this century. This is why France 2 has decided to spend time with you this evening trying to understand the awful reality of what's happening on the ground. What efforts are being made by Western countries? And how can you, if you so wish, participate in the race against time to save the refugees? The emergency is in fact twofold. It first of all involves a push to limit the cholera epidemic, which has left hundreds of dead in its wake during the last three days alone. And then - and this is the message we're passing to the United Nations’ decision makers - the Rwandans must go home as quickly as possible, and soon, but what must the conditions be? This is the crux of it. Once again, in Goma, the town bordering Rwanda and Zaire, the refugees and those trying to save them have been through another day in hell. Dorothée Ollieric and Alain Saingt."

Commentary: "For them, the exodus stops here. They're only a few kilometres from the Rwandan border, but they're the weakest, and they're the ones hit by cholera first. Yesterday, 25 refugees from Igangi camp died, there were twice as many today. According to humanitarian organisations, if we don't take action, they'll be 100 000 cholera victims in under three weeks. As things stand, people are dying in silence, at the feet of people too often themselves the living dead. In this city of death, we don't look at corpses, we don't talk any more, we don't even cry any more:
- Sœur Sabina Iragui (Fille de la Charité): "There's a lot of patients dying because the cholera outbreak’s happening when they're particularly undernourished. They've been here for a week, you know, and they haven't received any humanitarian aid."

Commentary: "At the exit to the camp, we take the road to the north, a road as interminably long as the throes of death. Everywhere we look, the shadow of death, bodies that aren't even being buried anymore. Four kilometres from Igangi camp, we arrive at Munigi centre. A handful of humanitarian workers for patients that are dying in droves."
- Catherine Lefèvre, MSF: "Yesterday evening we had 500 people like Patience. Now we have 1000. 200 people died here yesterday, just in this centre. Today, it'll be 400, maybe more. It's getting worse and worse. Apparently the situation's going downhill in Kubumba too. So if it's the same thing in Kubumba, what's already a disaster will become even worse."
Commentary: "They've fled the chaos of war, now they must flee from this disease."
- A young refugee woman: "My sister died of cholera three days ago and I've been looking after her baby. But he hasn't eaten anything for three days, not even a drop of milk. I don't know what to do. I don't want to go back to Rwanda, I'm too scared."
Commentary: "Fear, rumours, a lot of people don't know that the war's over in Rwanda. They're still talking about the massacres, about the ditches they say every Tutsi is digging in his garden so as to bury the Hutus. As we advance along the road, we understand how much this crowd is manipulated, how everybody has completely lost their way."
- Journalist to a refugee: "What's more dangerous for you, cholera or the RPF?"
- The refugee: "Well, when you get cholera, there's steps you can take. You can get cholera, but if you're lucky you can get treatment. But going back to Kigali's really dangerous because the Inkotanyi show no mercy."
Commentary: "At the 23rd kilometre, we've seen the hills of Kibumba and a tidal wave of humanity, in exodus. 100 000, 500 000, 1 000 000, whatever the figures, whatever the ethnic groups involved, solutions must be found. And as if things aren’t already bad enough, the cholera leaves us little room for hope."