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January 8, 2007
Images copyright Marcus Bleasdale
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the rarely mentioned site of the deadliest war in the world today. An estimated four million people have died there since 1998.
Ironically, approximately ninety percent of the deaths are due to disease and lack of medical care, not directly to brutal conflict or traditional warfare. Illness and disease are rife, malaria being the biggest killer. No aid workers are based in this region and no medical aid is available as it is thought to be too dangerous to work there. Two UN soldiers were killed and dismembered there last year.
Different militia groups and government forces battle it out on a daily basis in the east of the country for control of the mineral rich areas where they can exploit Gold, Coltan, Cassiterite and Diamonds. There are 18 major natural resources in DRC all of which at some stage have proved to be a curse on the people of DRC.
Photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale has just released a long, eloquent and disquieting sequence of images and information about the situation in the form of a QuickTime podcast, available for viewing on his web site: www.marcusbleasdale.com/podcast/. If you have the bandwidth, I recommend the hi-resolultion version.
He has spent more than five years covering the brutal conflict within the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Early work was published in his book One Hundred Years of Darkness, which was recognized as one of the best photojournalism books of the year 2002 by Photo District News in the USA.
He is widely published in the UK, Europe and the USA in publications such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Geo Magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek and National Geographic Magazine.
Marcus has received acclaim for his work over the years, including the 2004 UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award, an OSI Distribution Grant in 2005 for his work with Human Rights Watch. In 2005 Marcus was named Magazine Photographer of the Year by POYi. In 2006 Marcus was awarded a World Press Daily Life award and won the Prestigious OPC Olivier Rebbot Award.