The Bottom 10 List UN peacekeepers in Congo The immense human toll caused by conflicts in the <a href=" http://www.ideaexplore.net/news/040928.html#Congo">Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)</a>, Haiti, Chechnya, and northeast India are among the <a href=" http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/reports/2006/top10_2005.html">"Top Ten" Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2005</a>, according to the year-end list released today by the international humanitarian medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The eighth annual list also highlights the lack of media attention paid to the plight of people trapped by chronic wars in Colombia, northern Uganda, and Ivory Coast, unrelenting crises in Somalia and southern Sudan, as well as the utter lack of research and development devoted to new HIV/AIDS tools adapted for impoverished settings. "Media coverage can have a positive impact on relief efforts — just look at the nutritional crisis in Niger last year," said Nicolas de Torrente, Executive Director of MSF in the United States. "Although relief was far too late for many, the only reason aid efforts increased at all was the media attention at the peak of the crisis." According to Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the online media-tracking journal The Tyndall Report, the 10 stories highlighted by MSF accounted for just 8 minutes of the 14,529 minutes on the three major U.S. television networks' nightly newscasts for 2005. Natural disasters like the south Asia tsunami and the war in Iraq dominated international reporting. But in a year that Tyndall said had an unusually high amount of international coverage, only 6 minutes were devoted to DR Congo and 2 minutes to Chechnya. The remaining stories highlighted by MSF were not covered at all. The AIDS crisis received 14 minutes of coverage, none of which, however, was devoted to the lack of R&D. Centers for Disease Control / C. Goldsmith Electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding from a cell "AIDS coverage never touches upon the near-total lack of research and development into tools specifically adapted for patients most affected by AIDS," de Torrente said. "One example is the fact that there are no pediatric versions of easy-to-take antiretroviral (ARV) combinations like those that exist for adults. Without research and development into such medicines, hundreds of thousands of children will continue to die needlessly every year." Even though there was a general increase in international reporting, insecurity in war zones again contributed to preventing journalists from reporting on some of the world's most dangerous regions. "People all over the U.S. tell us how much they want to show solidarity and do more to help others in crisis around the world. But how can they when a crisis is virtually invisible?" de Torrente said. "Millions of people are struggling through crises in places that rarely, if ever, get mentioned in the U.S. news, and in our experience, silence is the best ally of injustice." The chart below gives very crude estimates or guesses of the number of people killed or affected (by loss of family, home, or health) by each item over one decade. Estimating the average life-years lost as about 30 per death or 2 per person affected gives the life-years for each item. Topic Deaths Affected Life-years Congo war 5,000 thousand 20,000 thousand 190.0 million Chechnya war 50 thousand 500 thousand 2.5 million Port-au-Prince violence 5 thousand 50 thousand .3 million Lack of HIV R&D 10,000 thousand 20,000 thousand 340.0 million NE India violence 10 thousand 200 thousand .7 million S Sudan poverty 30 thousand 1,000 thousand 2.9 million Somalia anarchy 500 thousand 5,000 thousand 25.0 million Columbia war 50 thousand 3,000 thousand 7.5 million Lord's Resistance Army 50 thousand 2,000 thousand 5.5 million Ivory Coast war 5 thousand 200 thousand .6 million Total 16 million 52 million 580 million Previous articles 4800 characters 500 characters 5300 characters Human News aims to devote 1 character to each 40,000 life-years, or 1000 average lives. Thus, the number of characters on these subjects could be 580 million life-years / 40,000 life-years/character = 14,500 characters. Since previous articles on these subjects occupied 5300 characters, this article can have 9200 characters. This article has 2900 characters plus about 1000 characters for the two photos, thus there could be more articles on these topics in the future.