Reflections on the Crisis in Eastern Congo

By
René Lemarchand

It is a commentary on the public indifference surrounding the Congo crisis that in spite of its far greater death-toll it receives only a fraction of the media attention devoted to Darfur.While there are ample grounds for public revulsion over the tragedy in Western Sudan, it does not come anywhere near the scale of the human losses suffered by the DRC. According to a survey conducted by  the International Rescue Committee (IRC), between August 1998, when the second Congo war began, and January 2008, an estimated 5.4 million died of war-related causes, including hunger, disease and sheer physical exhaustion. Approximately half of the dead were children under the age of 5. This means an average of 45,000 deaths each month. Since then another million may have succumbed of the same lethal side-effects of civil strife. Significantly, less than one per cent of these losses are identified as battle field casualties, a telling commentary about the deadly consequences of factional violence among civilians. 

 
 

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