IRC Affirms Congo Mortality Survey Findings
The International Rescue Committee, which carried out a series of mortality surveys in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2000-2007 in conjunction with some of the world’s leading epidemiologists, strongly affirms its finding that an estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of war and humanitarian crisis in the conflict-ridden country since 1998.
The IRC dismisses assertions in a research paper by the Human Security Report Project, that attempt to discredit large-scale mortality surveys in general and our Congo mortality studies in particular. We find the Human Security Report Project’s study to be deeply flawed and its arguments undermined by internal inconsistencies and poor scholarship.
The IRC and our partner epidemiologists used standard and scientifically-grounded methods for collecting data and estimating the previously unknown cost of war in Congo. Our methods, analysis and findings were subject to intense peer review and presented at academic and scientific conferences around the world. The results have been widely accepted by independent scientists and public health experts and published in three established medical journals.
While the Human Security Report Project may disagree with our approach, our conclusions have been supported by numerous other studies. In particular, a comprehensive review of 82 known mortality studies in Congo conducted between 2000 and 2006 by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters found estimates consistent with the IRC’s.
There is overwhelming evidence that millions of Congolese people died unnecessarily during the war and its aftermath. We stand by our findings and believe they remain the best estimates available of conflict-related mortality in Congo.
For additional information or interviews, contact Melissa Winkler, melissa.winkler@theIRC,org or 212-551-0972.