Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Darfur death rates 'six times higher' than normal!!!!!!

Injuries and illness are taking their toll on displaced Darfur residents.

As many as 10,000 displaced people could be dying each month in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region - six times higher than normal mortality rates - a World Health Organisation study shows.

"What we are getting from this study is that the number of deaths is between 6,000 and 10,000 per month," David Nabarro, the WHO's official in charge of health actions in crisis situations, said.

He says under normal conditions, total mortality for the population concerned would be expected to stand at around 1,500 per month. A very high proportion of the dead are children," he said.

Mr Nabarro says the main causes of death are diarrhoea due to water pollution, fever, pneumonia and various injuries. He calls the death rate "unacceptably high", saying the figures are higher than during the wars in East Timor, the Balkans or Iraq in 1991. He says the main priority is to improve hygiene conditions, access to clean water and the management of camps in the western Sudanese region. However, he warns that the current relief operation may not be enough to match the scale of the crisis.

The WHO study has been carried out, with help from the Sudanese Government, in Darfur's three provinces. There are 1.2 million people are living in precarious conditions in camps for the displaced in the region. Mr Nabarro says the daily mortality rate among the displaced stands at 1.5 per 10,000 in North Darfur, where some 380,000 people are displaced. It rises to 2.5 among children under five - three times higher than the average African death rate.

According to United Nations estimates, up to 50,000 people have died in Darfur since two rebel groups rose up against the Government in February 2003. The uprising sparked a crackdown by the Government and a proxy Arab militia.

By In Solidarity 14 September 04


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