03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Study: Congo Fighting Causes 45,000 Deaths A Month

The effects of a decade of fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo is continuing to kill about 45,000 people each month - half of them small children - in the deadliest conflict since the second world war, according to a new survey.

The International Rescue Committee said preventable diseases and starvation aggravated by conflict had claimed 5.4m lives since the beginning of the second Congo war in 1998, equivalent to the population of Denmark.

Although the war officially ended in 2002, malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition have continued to claim enormous numbers of lives in part because fighting continues in the east of the country.

The study of 14,000 households across Congo between January 2006 and April 2007 found that nearly half of all the deaths were of children under the age of five, who make up only 19% of the population.

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