The international community must provide $680 million in aid for Congo this year to stop a humanitarian disaster that kills -- every 6 months -- as many people as the 2004 Asian tsunami, a top UN official said.
“Too few understand that four million people have died and many more can die unless we put it right," U.N Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told Reuters.The current daily death rate of 1,200 people was equivalent to a tsunami "every six months, year after year after year," he added.
In what some experts call the deadliest humanitarian crisis of the last 60 years, an estimated four million people have died in Congo, mostly from hunger and disease, since civil war began in 1998. It ended officially in 2003, but deaths continue.
In 2005, the world body received $125 million for Congo, half of what it sought and just one-tenth of what it received for the Asian tsunami. Non governmental organizations brought in another $125 million, he said.
[Excerpt of an article by Ingrid Melander, Reuters]