U.N.: 1.9 million displaced in Sudan’s Darfur

The United Nations has already said that at least 460,000 people were displaced by fighting this year

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Almost two million people are displaced in Darfur, the U.N.’s top official in Sudan said on Monday, giving a new figure for the region where violence has worsened this year.

“We estimate that the internally displaced people... are close to 1.9 million, and that there are 1.3 million non-IDP’s who are severely affected and/or food insecure,” Ali Al-Za’tari said in the capital of North Darfur state.

“This makes the total number of Sudanese in need in Darfur more than 3.2 million.”

But as Sudan’s humanitarian needs mount, particularly in Darfur, the United Nations has received just over half of the funding it requested, with world attention focused on other crises, Za’tari said.

“These staggering numbers of the affected people are at the risk of fading in the midst of other crises the international community faces, for example in Central African Republic, Mali, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Philippines and Myanmar,” Za’tari said.

He was speaking at a meeting of the Implementation Follow-up Commission, an international body which monitors implementation of a 2011 peace deal Khartoum signed in Qatar with an alliance of rebel splinter groups.

Major rebel forces rejected the pact.

The United Nations has already said that at least 460,000 people were displaced by fighting this year. The number dislocated previously during the region’s 10-year-old conflict had been unclear, but was in excess of one million.

While battles between the government and rebels continue, Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein said last month that violence between rival tribes has eclipsed rebel activity as the main security threat in Darfur.

The fighting, over land and other resources, has largely involved Arab tribal militias, some of which have used heavy weapons including rockets.

Non-Arab rebels rose up in Darfur 10 years ago, seeking an end to what they viewed as Arab elites’ domination of Sudan’s power and wealth.

In response, government-backed Janjaweed militiamen, recruited among the region’s Arab tribes, shocked the world with atrocities against civilians.

Analysts say the cash-starved Khartoum government can no longer control its former Arab tribal allies.

Za’tari said the U.N. has received only about 55 percent of the $985 million it asked the international community to provide this year for humanitarian aid in Sudan.

Almost 60 percent of the funds received, $538 million, went to Darfur, he said.

The U.N. is appealing to the international community for $996 million in 2014 “to meet the mounting humanitarian needs of Sudan” where a total of 6.1 million are estimated to need assistance.

In addition to the violence in Darfur, fighting between insurgents and government forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states has displaced or severely affected more than one million people, the U.N. says.

Infographic: Darfur Displaced

Infographic: Darfur Displaced
Infographic: Darfur Displaced

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