Magazine article USA TODAY

Each Month, 45,000 Die in Congo

Magazine article USA TODAY

Each Month, 45,000 Die in Congo

Article excerpt

Conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken the lives of an estimated 5,400,000 people since 1998 and continue to leave as many as 45,000 dead every month, according to a major mortality survey released by the International Rescue Committee, New York. "The conflict and its aftermath, in terms of fatalities, surpass any other since World War II," laments George Rupp, the aid group's president.

"Congo's loss is equivalent to the entire population of Denmark or the state of Colorado perishing within a decade. Although Congo's war formally ended five years ago, ongoing strife and poverty continue to take a staggering toll. We hope the peace agreement in North Kivu will mean an end to the hostilities and a restart of reconciliation and recovery efforts."

Adds Richard Brennan, director of IRC's Global Health Programs: "Since our last study in 2004, there's been no change in the national rate, which is nearly 60% higher than the sub-Saharan average." The survey period ended shortly after violence in eastern North Kivu province began to escalate. Therefore, the study documents only a fraction of the nation's unrest.

Brennan points out that, prior to the upsurge in violence, there actually were modest decreases in mortality in the eastern regions. …

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