Washington Post Examines Health Toll Of Congo Conflict

The Washington Post examines the devastating toll the conflict in the Congo has had on the health of the country’s displaced civilians, as told through the death of a 36-year-old farmer, who succumbed to typhoid fever far away from the home he abandoned. The newspaper writes, “By some estimates, at least 5 million Congolese have died in more than a decade of conflict touched off by the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda, which sent a flood of militiamen across the border into mineral-rich eastern Congo.”

While the “conflict has surged, receded and changed over time … for the most part … people in eastern Congo have not died in a blaze of bullets or in large-scale massacres. More often, the conflict has set off a chain reaction of less spectacular consequences that begins with fleeing through an unforgiving jungle and ends with a death.” There, displaced people face injury, lack of food or clean water as well as diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and measles. The Washington Post writes that the conflict has “scattered” whole villages “across hundreds of miles,” and “has overwhelmed already-dysfunctional government hospitals and left roads rutted and overgrown.”

“At the moment, the conflict in eastern Congo is surging once again,” the Washington Post writes, adding, “Since January, at least half a million people have fled a U.N.-backed Congolese army operation targeting Rwandan rebels” – a topic Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to discuss in a visit to Congo this month” (McCrummen, 8/2).

A separate Washington Post article examines the source of “frequently cited death toll” data from eastern Congo and looks at some of the causes of death (McCrummen [2], 8/2).

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