Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sudan: Darfur dead between 200,000 and 300,000

Independent estimates from the Brookings Institution and others now reveal that between 200,000 and 300,000 people have died in Darfur from starvation, disease and violence over the past two years.

via Toronto Star - March 5, 2005 by Simon Rosenblum, Director Public Policy, Canadian Jewish Congress, Toronto.


BBC photo: Average life expectancy in southern Sudan is just 42 years
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Chad: Work begins on new camp for Sudanese

A British government official recently said the crisis in Darfur will continue for another 18-24 months - which means the Dafuris imprisoned in Chad shan't be going home for a few more years.

Note the UN's figure of 200,000 refugees in Chad has not changed in almost a year, despite a steady influx of thousands of new refugees each month.

Six months ago the UN referred to the death toll in Darfur as totalling 70,000 since March 2003 but fails to update the figure even though at least 5,000-10,000 refugees are dying in the camps each month. How the publicly funded UN gets away with not updating figures is amazing.

The following is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Rupert Colville -- to whom quoted text may be attributed -- at a press briefing, on 1 March 2005, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva:

UNHCR and its partners are starting work this week on a new refugee camp in eastern Chad to accommodate Sudanese refugees who have fled the strife-torn Darfur region. The camp will be the 12th established in eastern Chad, where UNHCR has been searching intensively for sites with sufficient water resources to sustain large numbers of people -- a daunting task in this arid region.

The new camp -- called Gaga -- is located east of the main town of Abeche. Initially, it will accommodate 15,000 refugees who are currently living at the overcrowded camps of Farchana and Bredjing. The new site could also take in refugees who are still living at the border, some 1,500 of whom have expressed the desire to move to a camp.

If the initial estimates of water supply at Gaga are confirmed, the camp could eventually shelter up to 30,000 refugees. But already, preliminary results from drilling done in recent weeks show that the water supply is sufficient to start building a new camp. Local Chadian authorities and traditional leaders have also agreed for a camp to be built in Gaga. UNHCR hopes that the new site will welcome its first refugees in April, before the onset of the rainy season.

In all, more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees live in camps in eastern Chad. The vast majority of the refugees were transferred by UNHCR from the volatile border zone in a major logistics operation over the past year. The two-year-old conflict in Darfur has also uprooted another 1.8 million people within Darfur itself. - via ReliefWeb March 1, 2005.
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Irish aid agency GOAL chief urges Ireland to withdraw from UN

On March 4, the chief executive of the well regarded Irish aid agency GOAL, John O'Shea, called on the Government to withdraw from the United Nations in protest at its lack of action in Darfur.

Mr O'Shea said that the UN was acting cowardly and the Government should make a point by withdrawing from the body.

"We've got to find courage from somewhere and I think if Ireland was to take this stand, maybe one of the bigger governments would applaud it," he said. - IOL March 4, 2005.
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Egyptian actor calls on the Arab world to help Darfur

Here is a rare piece of news: an Arab calls on the Arab world to help Darfur.

Mahmud Qabil, a prominent Egyptian actor and goodwill ambassador for the UN children's fund shown here in 2002, called on the Arab world to offer more assistance to suffering children in Darfur. (AFP/File/Amro Maraghi) Mar 3

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