No End in Sight to Devastating Conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Civilians were once again besieged in the eastern DRC when fighting erupted in North Kivu this past December. Nearly 150,000 people fled for their lives from Kayna, Kanyabayonga, and Kirumba just a few weeks after thousands of others fled fighting in the Mitwaba region. These were just the latest chapters in a decade-long war that has cost an estimated three million people their lives and reduced an already impoverished country's limited infrastructure to ruins. Towns like Bunia, in Ituri province, still bear scars from last year's fighting, and rape is widespread. Political divisions often erupt along ethnic lines, affecting entire areas of a country the size of Western Europe, where many Congolese cannot meet even their most basic needs. Local militias and government troops prey on civilians throughout the east. In Katanga province, armed groups have burnt down health structures, and unpaid militaries harass, loot, and exploit people. Medical services are woefully inadequate in the entire country, if they exist at all. Measles vaccination coverage in the country is barely above 50 percent, while Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) responds to frequent outbreaks of cholera and typhoid fever because of poor sanitation and lack of potable water. A peace accord signed by seven warring factions in December 2002 led to a transition government and a UN peacekeeping force in the east, but the situation remains grim. Even with elections scheduled for June 2005, much remains to be done before any sense of security or hope is restored to people ravaged by a war with no end in sight.
Learn more about the DRC here – http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/drc.cfm
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org – is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in nearly 70 countries. Learn more about the work of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) here –