Orphan Disasters

The UN official overseeing relief efforts for Tsunami victims says that American response to the disaster is "ideal" but worries about 19 other orphan disasters that have received little attention or aid.

Jan Englund told reporters at the UN that "We have 20 parallel catastrophes unfolding.

"I am now as afraid for the situation in Darfur as I was at the peak, nearly, in the summer," he said in reference to the turbulent region in Sudan.

"I am just desperate to get attention to the 'tsunami' coming in Congo every four months," he added, arguing that there are as many preventable deaths in that time as the number who died in the tsunami disaster.

"In eastern Congo we believe that there are in the millions of preventable deaths in the last decade," he said.

"And here is my criticism of the rich world: Could we wake up please to those 20 forgotten emergencies, as we have woken up so generously to this enormous tsunami that has hit 5 million people and killed more than 150,000?"

Those disasters are "not on the headlines, they are not on TV, and they are ignored and overlooked," said Kofi Anan.


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