Worst Conflict Since World War II (In terms of human lives lost)
The situation in the DRC remains bleak as people are continuously caught in the cycle of violence and despair. More than 1.5 million people are currently displaced in various regions of the DRC, the majority of which are in the north Kivu region. Out of these displaced people, 250,000 of them were displaced between August 2008 and February 2009. Because the DRC’s crude mortality rate is 57% higher than the average rate in sub-Saharan Africa, this suggests a high level of volatility in the country. How can 5.4 million people perish in two wars and no one cares?
To make matters worse, it is estimated that over 1,000 Congolese people continue to die every day from violence, hunger, preventable disease, and displacement. However, only about 0.4% of the deaths are caused by direct violence. About half of the victims are children, even though they make up less than 20% of the population. Women are also especially vulnerable to the war in the DRC because rape is used as an effective weapon of war. Because women are the central units of their family, rape is used to break the fabric of families and communities. Due to the success that rape has had in destroying communities, the eastern DRC is one of the worst places for a woman to live in the modern world. According to the Genocide Intervention Network, in 2008 alone, over 10,000 rapes occurred in North and South Kivu. The mass rape that is occurring in the eastern DRC supersedes incidents of rape in any other region of the world today. Doctors Without Borders works with countless rape cases across the world, 75% of which are from the eastern DRC.
The continuation of violence against civilians and the sheer numbers of civilians who are displaced from their homes led the UN to call the conflict in the eastern DRC the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st Century in 2005. As in many conflicts around the world, women and children are the groups who suffer the most from the fighting. Though the country faces many pressing issues to this day, it has made a notable stride in its push to become more democratic. On December 6, 2006, Joseph Kabila made history by becoming the DRC’s first president to be elected through a democratic process, though the fact that his father was the former president certainly helped him. However, the new government is barely functioning and has been unequipped to deal with the humanitarian crisis. The political and security instabilities in the DRC that the Rwandan rebels and the Congolese army helped create only serve to worsen the government’s stability.