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10/22/04 - MORE DEATHS IN DARFUR - 2004-10-22

The World Health Organization estimates that seventy-thousand African Sudanese have died in camps for displaced persons in Sudan's western Darfur region. These deaths have come mostly from disease and malnutrition. Thousands more have been killed in ruthless attacks on their villages by Janjaweed Arab militias supported by the Sudanese government. And many other deaths are thought to be occurring among African Sudanese who have not managed to make their way to the camps in Darfur or across the border in Chad. World Health Organization official David Nabarro says that many more people will die in Darfur without increased aid from other countries:

"We still don't have a significant enough popular perception around the world of the enormity of the suffering experienced by people in Darfur and in Chad, where disease and suffering [are] being experienced on a quite extraordinary and inhuman scale."

The U.S. is the leading donor of humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Darfur. The U.S. is also leading diplomatic efforts to end the Sudanese-government-sponsored violence that has driven about two-million people from their homes. More than four-hundred-fifty troops from the African Union are now deployed in Darfur to monitor a cease-fire between Sudanese African rebels and the government-supported Arab militias. It is hoped that this small force will soon grow to some three-thousand.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that "Americans of all political parties and all political persuasions feel very strongly about the need to help in Darfur":

". . .feel very strongly about the need for the [Sudanese] government to stop supporting the Janjaweed and stop supporting the violence, and feel very strongly about the need to get the Africans in there to help stabilize the situation so the people of Darfur can go back to their houses."

Everyone, says State Department spokesman Boucher, "needs to be committed to the sole goal of making sure that the poor people of Darfur. . .are able to get the supplies they need and are able to find the security they need."