The IRC survey has estimated that around 2.7 million children died in the Congo war. But, the survey's figures are based on rough estimates.
The last series of survey data released by an American aid organization, the International Rescue Committee(IRC), in August 2008 revealed that there were more than 5.4 million deaths during the war that began in 1998. The survey depicted that young children were more vulnerable to infectious diseases and malnutrition. Such conditions in children had contributed to 47.2 percent of all deaths who were younger than five years of age. That is nearly equal to half of the 5.4 million deaths reported totaling around 2.7 million children deaths.
The survey was conducted on a sample collected from 14,000 households in 700 villages and towns across Congo from Jan. 2006 to April 2007. The survey's authors have emphasized that their survey figures are the estimates based on some of the widely-accepted statistical methods for depicting death tolls in disasters. Still, the cumulative figures for how many have died since the war began has a wide margin of error given the difficulty of the terrain in Congo and the lack of precision in basic demographic information, like the pre-war mortality rate or Congo's current population, The New Yorks Times reported.
However, The Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia noted that the death toll in the Congo wars could be reduced if a proper research methodology is used.
According to the Voice of America, Andrew Mack, director of the project, stated that they had noticed two significant problems with the IRC survey showing 5.4 million deaths.
He said, "The first one is we believe that the first two surveys that were carried out to cover the period from 1998 to 2001, those surveys weren't carried out inappropriate scientific manner…the second problem is that in their final survey which was done much more appropriately is that they used a pre-war mortality rate which was much too low. And the lower you assume the pre-war mortality, the higher you're going to find the excess overall war death toll."
He added that the pre-war mortality rates used in the survey were the average for Sub-Saharan Africa and DRC, which retains at the bottom of every development indicator that exists. It cannot be used as an average for Sub-Saharan Africa. Mack further claimed that an alternative measure used for the pre-war mortality rate estimated the death figures from 1 million to 2 million.
However, in response to the criticisms on the survey estimations Richard Brennan, one of the IRC survey's co-authors, said that "Certainly there were limitations in what we did because of insecurity in eastern Congo. So we had to make these assumptions and extrapolations, which we believe were conservative. We acknowledge that there were some limitations, but we do not believe, and many other experts do not believe that they invalidate our findings."
The survey figures only estimate the death tolls from 1998 to 2003 while the war had also existed from 1996, and there are no precise figures of it. Considering the IRC survey results, we can establish that 2.7 million children had died in the Congo war since 1998, yet there are no complete figures available.
Thus, we can conclude that over two million children are believed to have died during the Congo war due to various reasons, but Congo's terrain and the inaccurate demographic data from the country have made it challenging to compile near accurate data of children's deaths during that period.