Congo’s Death Rate Unchanged Since War Ended (Video and Article)

Five years after Congo’s catastrophic war officially ended, the rate at which people are dying in the country remains virtually unchanged, according to a new survey, despite the efforts of the world’s largest peacekeeping force, billions of dollars in international aid and a historic election that revived democracy after decades of violence and despotism.

 The following video is not part of the NewYork Time article below but covers the save issue.

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3ClS-gJqUU[/youtube]

Congo’s Death Rate Unchanged Since War Ended

The NewYork Times

By LYDIA POLGREEN

DAKAR, Senegal — Five years after Congo’s catastrophic war officially ended, the rate at which people are dying in the country remains virtually unchanged, according to a new survey, despite the efforts of the world’s largest peacekeeping force, billions of dollars in international aid and a historic election that revived democracy after decades of violence and despotism.

The survey, released Tuesday, estimated that 45,000 people continue to die every month, about the same pace as in 2004, when the international push to rebuild the country had scarcely begun. Almost all the deaths come from hunger and disease, signs that the country is still grappling with the aftermath of a war that gutted its infrastructure, forced millions to flee and flattened its economy.

In all, more than 5.4 million people have died in Congo since the war began in 1998, according to the most recent survey’s estimate, the latest in a series completed by the International Rescue Committee, an American aid organization. Nearly half of the dead were children younger than 5 years old.

Perhaps most alarming, while the death rate has slightly decreased in eastern Congo, the last festering node of conflict, it has actually increased in some parts of central Congo, though the area has not seen combat in several years. The study’s authors and other aid organizations said the focus of aid dollars on the east and neglect of the region by government were the most likely explanations for the changes. These surprising findings demonstrate the depth and complexity of Congo’s continuing crisis, said Richard Brennan, health director for the International Rescue Committee and one of the survey’s authors.

To read the entire article go here.

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