Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The continuing humanitarian crisis in the DRC

I've seen a number of media stories on the seemingly cursed Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last few days. The US' National Public Radio did a story on Doctors Without Borders' (MSF) efforts provide health care to some 20,000 refugees in the country.

On a related note, the United Nations' IRIN news service reports on an effort by the UN and the European Commission to raise over US$680 million to help meet the basic needs of 30 million vulnerable people in the DRC.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs [J]an Egeland was quoted as saying each day more than 1,200 people in DRC die from the lingering effects of civil war: malnutrition, disease, and displacement.

It is surely the most severe, chronic humanitarian disaster in the world. It's been estimated that four million Congolese have died since the country's civil war began in 1998. Most due to the 'side effects' of war rather than the bullets themselves.

Another IRIN article talks about the peculiar terror of northern Katanga, in the east of the country.


At 8:52 AM, Blogger Black River Eagle said...

Thanks for the tip on the NPR report. I noted at the end of January that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum website had a special multimedia feature on the D.R. Congo titled "Ripples of Genocide". Have you seen it? Angeline Jolie and John Prendergast were involved with the project along with the International Crisis Group.

You can check it out at the USHMM Committee on Conscience podcasts section and at the ICG "Conflict in the Congo" site:

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Black River Eagle said...

Oh yeah, and let's not forget how eager and willing the EU is to pitch in and help out in the DRC. Here is the latest on the EU debacle to provide (paltry) military support to the U.N.'s MONUC and the D.R.C. government in the upcoming June 18th Presidential elections.

EU snagged on UN request for Congo force(Reuters AlertNet Feb. 18th):

The initiative to provide troops for the elections ironically was proposed by a Belgian MEP back in November 2005. As you can see after reading the article, the EU is good for absolutely ZIP! when it comes to helping to provide security for people in the Congo.

"Just send 'em some money and hide under our desks and hope that everything will be allright."


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