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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 02:32 GMT
DRC conflict 'kills 1,000 a day'
By Mark Doyle
BBC world affairs correspondent

Internally displaced Congolese people wait to see a doctor in Ngungu, eastern Congo
People in Eastern Congo are being preyed on by rival armed groups
More than 1,000 people are dying every day as a result of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a report.

The International Rescue Committee aid agency says the vast majority of deaths are from easily preventable illnesses.

Diseases are rampant in the DR Congo because the war has destroyed hospitals and other health infrastructure.

A peace deal has been signed but the various armies have not disbanded.

They fought for years over the country's gold, diamonds and other precious minerals.


Everywhere you go in eastern DR Congo you meet people who have fled war.

EU peacekeeper in DR Congo
The UN plays a vital role, but it cannot stay in DR Congo forever
Some are cared for by aid agencies; more are just left to fend for themselves and, crucially, to try to avoid the armed men who live like parasites off civilians - stealing what little they have.

The new report pulls all the statistics together and concludes that more than 1,000 people are dying every day from conditions such as malaria or malnutrition.

The report says the international humanitarian response to Congo has been abysmal and it compared the response to other disasters.

During the year 2003, for example, it says Iraq received aid worth the equivalent of $138 per person.


During the same year DR Congo got the equivalent per person of $3.

Aid call

The International Rescue Committee said there was an urgent need in Congo for vastly increased humanitarian aid.

Along with such aid, the agency said, there was also a need for more United Nations peacekeepers.

There are currently plans for around 15,000 UN troops to be deployed, but the aid agency said these were poorly equipped, poorly trained and lacking in commitment.

More of the same, the agency said, will not help.

What was needed was highly trained and well-resourced troops who could prevent arms flows and protect vulnerable civilians.

Conflict continues to claim lives in DR Congo

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