Worldwide War Tally Triples in New Study

Conflicts killed 5.4M people over past 50 years, researchers say
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2008 6:09 PM CDT
Robert Haddox pauses at his son Christopher's grave, who served in the Army in the Persian Gulf, during Memorial day services at Houston Veterans Administration Cemetery in Houston, Texas.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Wars have killed three times more people over the past 50 years than once thought, a new study says. Researchers in Boston, using a new method to estimate fatalities, say that 5.4 million people died due to war between 1955 and 2002. "It's important that there's an awareness of how many people actually die," researcher Ziad Obermeyer told ABC News.

Researchers compared wartime eyewitness accounts and media reports with UN data, a method designed to avoid dupes in the count. But unexpectedly high numbers in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe helped drive up the tally. "There is a notion in political thought that the number of deaths due to war has been declining in recent years," Obermeyer said. "But these reports are not a reflection of reality."