Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

Congo's Still-Ravaged State

Although the Democratic Republic of Congo received some attention this year for holding its first free elections in four decades, the war-torn country — where nearly four million people have died as a result of the conflict since 1998 — is still home to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Congo is plagued by malnutrition, malaria and other largely preventable conditions that kill 1,200 people a day — a death toll, as UNICEF points out, that is the equivalent of suffering a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami every six months. More children die in Congo before reaching their fifth birthday than in China, a country with 23 times the population.