An international aid agency says more than 1,000 civilians a day in Congo are dying from disease and malnutrition in the "deadliest crisis in the world."

The New York-based International Rescue Committee blames a six-year military conflict being fought over the country's rich gold, diamond and mineral stores for 3.8 million deaths in Africa's third-largest nation.

Most of the deaths are easily preventable, the agency said in a report released Thursday, but the war has destroyed hospitals and other health-care institutions.

World response to the crisis in the country also known as Congo-Kinshasa has been lacking, the agency said. During 2003, Iraq received aid worth the equivalent of $138 per person, while Congo received roughly $3 per person in aid.

"The international response to the humanitarian crisis in Congo has been grossly inadequate in proportion to need," said Dr. Richard Brennan, one of the study's authors. "It's sustained compassion and political will that's lacking."

Congo's death toll remains one-third higher than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, despite peace deals signed in 2002. A transitional government was set up last year with elections scheduled for 2005.

Established at the request of Albert Einstein to help opponents of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, the IRC is a non-profit agency that assists refugees around the world.