The Unknown Death Toll

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Unknown Death Toll

Below is this week's Coalition for Darfur post. You can also read today's Daily Darfur here.
Many seemed surprised when UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland recently updated the estimated death toll in Darfur upwards from 70,000 to 180,000. Egeland estimates that 10,000 people have died, and continue to die, per month since the start of the genocide 18 months ago. He also admitted that the new death toll might be even higher (more than 200,000) and stressed that this new figure does not include those who have died violently at the hands of the Sudanese government or their proxy militia, the Janjaweed.

The original figure of 70,000 was an estimate, or rather an underestimate, as it covered only the mortality in camps accessible to the World Health Organization between April and early September 2004. As such, it did not include mortality rates prior to April 2004, nor did it include mortality rates among the more than 200,000 refugees in Chad, nor the mortality rates in regions inaccessible to humanitarian organizations.

It is in these inaccessible regions where most of the violence is taking place. According to Sudan expert Eric Reeves, whose continuing analysis of the situation in Darfur has been vital to understanding the widening scope of the crisis, an estimated 240,000 others have died as a direct result of government and/or Janjaweed violence.

If these numbers are correct, and we really have no cause to doubt them, it is safe to assume that some 400,000 Sudanese civilians have died in the last year and a half from direct violence, disease, or starvation.

That is more than 22,200 per month.

That is more than 740 per day.

That is more than 30 per hour.

That is one death every 2 minutes ... for 18 months.

Despite the seemingly hopeless nature of the crisis, we at the Coalition for Darfur believe that together we can raise awareness of the situation and, at the same time, raise money for the vital work that Save the Children is doing by providing food, water, shelter, and protection to over 200,000 children and families in Darfur each month.

Together, and with your support, we hope to make a small but meaningful contribution to alleviating the massive suffering that continues to plague the region.

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