Though not extensively covered in the Western media, the world’s deadliest armed conflict since WWII occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with an estimated 4 million dead between 1998 and 2003. That conflict has simmered on in North Kivu (a Congolese province bordering Uganda and Rwanda), with full scale war threatening to break out once more between the official army of DRC and the dissident troops of General Laurent Nkunda, a conflict that could end up involving foreign troops as well.
Humanitarian crisis doesn’t loom so much as it is already present. This from a recent article in The Economist (“A humanitarian disaster unfolds,” November 17, p. 54): “Making comparisons between humanitarian crises may not always be fair or useful. But those dealing with the emergency in Kivu are starting to do so. ‘The situation at the moment in North Kivu is worse than Darfur,’ says Sylvie van den Wildenberg of the UN mission in the province. More people have fled their homes this year than in Darfur.” As the same article reports, approximately 500,000 (out of the province’s population of 4 million) people have been displaced in the past year or so, 160,000 just in the past two months. Violence is common, and rape is being commonly used as a weapon of war.
See “More Clashes in DRC North Kivu Will Harm Civilians,” from New Zealand’s Scoop, for a general description of the situation. See “The Blood Keeps Flowing,” from AllAfrica.com, for a description of the effects on one town.