In reports on Congo, this writer has used the phrase “1,000 people a day die in Kivu Province," ad nauseum, to little effect. Let’s up the ante and use the latest numbers and say that 45,000 people die each month in Congo as the world's deadliest humanitarian crisis has failed to improve, as a report released Tuesday says. The report was conducted by the Australia's Burnet Institute, which researches epidemiological disease.
An estimated 5.4 million Congolese died between 1998 and April 2007 because of conflict, most from the rampant disease and food shortages stemming from fighting, the report said, but other studies indicate the total cost of the conflict is closer to 10 million lost souls.
In a stunning example of understatement, he current study found that life is still “alarmingly precarious” for Congolese despite the end of the 1998-2002 conflict that pulled in armies from half a dozen surrounding countries, and the country's first free and fair elections in more than four decades in 2006.
And in the meantime, truth-tellers like Maurice Kayombo remain behind bars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Radio Okapi journalist Serge Maheshe remains dead, and life barely holds on in the killing fields while we wring our hands over a few gorillas, presidential debate shennanigans, and Lindsay Lohan’s latest car wreck.
Someone should raise their hand at the debates and ask the candidates what in the heck they plan to do about Congo.
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