August 11th, 2009
04:06 PM ET

The humanitarian crisis in Congo

Program Note: Tune in tonight for an exclusive AC360º dispatch to watch Anderson Cooper's full report on the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/08/11/congo.rape/art.congo2.sq.jpg" caption="The United Nations estimates that 200,000 women and girls have been raped in the Congo."]

from Oxfam International

The five-year war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which involved the armies of five other countries, officially ended in 2003 and democratic elections were held in 2006. However, fighting involving a plethora of armed groups continues, especially in the east of this mineral-rich country. Throughout all this conflict it is the civilians who continue to suffer the most.

The DRC has the world's largest peacekeeping force, totaling some 17,000 personnel. But they struggle to maintain security in a country the size of Western Europe with a population of 60 million.

Fighting was fuelled by the DRC’s tremendous mineral resources and by the flow of small arms into the country.

– Humanitarian crisis –

Since the war started in 1997, an estimated 4 million people have died from violence, hunger and disease as a result of the conflict, and 2.5 million have been made homeless – 1.5 million displaced within the DRC’s borders and one million forced to flee to neighboring countries.


soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Kerry Hayes

    Go Hillary !

    A woman politician speaks assertively and she is accused of having a meltdown. A man politician under the same situation would be labeled tough if labeled at all. I'm proud of Hillary Clinton's work. She has my full support. The Congo has an International rep for it inhumane violence against woman. Please understand this to understand the complete context of her response.

    Hillary keep up the good work !

    August 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  2. Sabrina In Los Angeles

    So heartbreakingly sad.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    This must be the war that never dies – if it wasn't for organizations like OxFam the public death toll would be so much higher; its already too high. I'm looking forward to the report tonight to see if there has been any progress made in any area.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  4. Isabel • Brazil


    The Cáritas (confederation of organizations of the Catholic Church) says that poverty and suffering in Congo reached a level that indicates there is an permanent humanitarian crisis. But "permanent" is a word so strong and without hope of solution, even if the long term. It's so hard thinking in these terms.

    You been there, do you agree with that? Is the hope so vague?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Isabel • Brazil

    I look forward to this report.

    The world must no longer cover their eyes about the problems in African countries and pretend that you do not see and have no knowledge of the true atrocities that happen there every day. The world must act.

    Children are the ones that suffer most. They are innocent in the midst of this ruthless and selfish situation, when they are recruited by militias.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  6. Lilibeth

    Thank you, Oxfam, for the work you do, for the opportunity to help, and for always bringing to our attention the plight of the people in this region. Where there's awareness, there's hope for change.

    Edmonds, Washington

    August 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |