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Friday, December 10, 2004

Over 31,000 a month 'are dying in Congo war'

There is a "little" war raging in the African Congo that's killed 3.8 million people over the last six years and its gets no attention in the West. The Financial Times reports on some of the grim details:

More than 31,000 people are continuing to die every month as a result of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 18 months after the signing of a peace agreement, according to a report published today.

The New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) said its mortality survey, conducted jointly with Burnet Institute of Australia, a medical research body, was one of the most comprehensive ever conducted in a conflict zone.

It put the total of war-related deaths over the last six years in Congo at 3.8m - saying that this made it the world's deadliest conflict since the second world war.

The estimate exceeds a widely cited figure of 3m deaths - mainly from disease and hunger - and the IRC's own previous tally of 3.3m, issued at the time of the peace agreement in April last year.

It compares with estimates of more than 2m deaths in the Vietnam war between 1961 and 1973.
One of the study's authors puts the losses in perspective:
“In a matter of six years, the world lost a population equivalent to the entire country of Ireland or the city of Los Angeles,” says the IRC’s Dr. Rick Brennan, one of the study’s authors. “How many innocent Congolese have to perish before the world starts paying attention?”

Democratic Republic of Congo: 3.8 Million Dead in 6 Year Conflict [theirc.org]
Over 31,000 a month 'are dying in Congo war' [ft.com]

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