Monday, December 20, 2004

Eric Reeves - Darfur Mortality Update (12/12/2004)

This piece comes from the website of Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor who has taken a leave of absence to focus on the Darfur crisis, and has turned himself into a widely recognized expert. He's one of the best informed, acute, and passionately engaged people currently writing about the Darfur atrocity (in a range of publications that have included the New York Times, Dissent, In These Times, the Nation, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and various newspapers outside the US--in addition to his website, which is an invaluable source of ongoing information).

Over the past year, Reeves has periodically attempted to estimate the mounting death toll in Darfur. This is his most recent effort. His basic conclusions are:

Building on nine previous assessments of global mortality in Darfur, the current assessment finds that approximately 370,000 have died since conflict erupted in February 2003, and that the current mortality rate has increased to approximately 35,000 per month, though this figure is poised to grow rapidly in light of food deficits forecast for early 2005, increasingly weakened populations that are only very partially served by current humanitarian operations, and accelerating violence that is severely curtailing humanitarian access and transport capacity. (Full text of the most recent previous mortality assessment [November
16, 2004] is available at: Sudan Tribune)

In less than a month, the genocidal destruction in Darfur will be half that of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In Darfur, however, genocidal ambitions have a much more expansive time-frame for human destruction. Indeed, there is nothing presently in view that suggests how genocide by attrition can be halted. Present humanitarian aid operations cannot address humanitarian need that continues to increase rapidly; nor can a conspicuously inadequate African Union monitoring presence meaningfully address the acute insecurity that is daily worsening. Resumed diplomatic negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria show no signs of forcing Khartoum to make any political concessions that might resolve the crisis.

The killing will not stop until there is a concerted international humanitarian intervention, with all necessary military support. Such intervention seems wholly without diplomatic or political support.

The whole piece is worth reading.

--Jeff Weintraub

-----------------------------------
http://freeworldnow.blogspot.com/
-----------------------------------
Sudan - News and Analysis by Eric Reeves

Monday, December 13, 2004

DARFUR MORTALITY UPDATE: December 12, 2004

Current data for total mortality from violence, malnutrition, and disease

Eric Reeves
December 12, 2004

Building on nine previous assessments of global mortality in Darfur,
the current assessment finds that approximately 370,000 have died since
conflict erupted in February 2003, and that the current mortality rate
has increased to approximately 35,000 per month, though this figure is
poised to grow rapidly in light of food deficits forecast for early
2005, increasingly weakened populations that are only very partially
served by current humanitarian operations, and accelerating violence
that is severely curtailing humanitarian access and transport capacity.
(Full text of the most recent previous mortality assessment [November
16, 2004] is available at Sudan Tribune)

In less than a month, the genocidal destruction in Darfur will be half
that of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In Darfur, however, genocidal
ambitions have a much more expansive time-frame for human destruction.
Indeed, there is nothing presently in view that suggests how genocide by
attrition can be halted. Present humanitarian aid operations cannot
address humanitarian need that continues to increase rapidly; nor can a
conspicuously inadequate African Union monitoring presence meaningfully
address the acute insecurity that is daily worsening. Resumed
diplomatic negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria show no signs of forcing
Khartoum to make any political concessions that might resolve the
crisis.

The killing will not stop until there is a concerted international
humanitarian intervention, with all necessary military support. Such
intervention seems wholly without diplomatic or political support.

MILITARY AND SECURITY CONTEXT

Any assessment of current and prospective mortality rates in Darfur
must accept as context the very rapidly deteriorating security situation
in the region. The primary cause at present is a massively
disproportional military response by Khartoum, using all possible
pretexts for military assaults that may (or may not) relate to actions
by the Darfuri insurgents. This has had the effect of severely
curtailing humanitarian operations, even as humanitarian need continues
to grow. There are increasing numbers of "no-go" areas; humanitarian
workers continue to operate amidst intolerable security risks;
humanitarian transport corridors are being shut down; camps for
displaced persons continue to be sites for rape, torture, and killings;
huge numbers of vulnerable civilians remain trapped in inaccessible
rural areas; and there are numerous credible reports of recent
widespread civilian displacement as a result of violence by Khartoum's
regular forces and its brutal Janjaweed allies.

Of particular note are fully substantiated reports of large-scale
aerial assaults by the Khartoum regime. These assaults, mainly by means
of Antonov bombers, come despite Khartoum's formal pledge to "refrain
from conducting hostile military flights in and over the Darfur region"
(clause 2 of the Security Protocol of November 9, 2004; signed in Abuja,
Nigeria). What is most notable about Antonov bombing attacks is their
thoroughly indiscriminate nature: Antonovs are not true military
aircraft, but rather retrofitted cargo planes from which high-explosive
anti-personnel bombs are rolled out the back cargo bay. They are
notoriously inaccurate and of highly limited value for true military
purposes. But they are exquisitely effective tools for civilian
destruction and terror, as Khartoum has proved over many years in
southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains.

That Khartoum is intent on indiscriminate civilian destruction by
military means is borne out by many other recent reports, including the
following from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Luis
Diaz:

"As an example of the ongoing conflict [Diaz] cited the launching of 18
mortars by Government [of Sudan] forces into the village of Masteri in
West Darfur in response to an attack from that region." (UN News Center,
December 3, 2004)

Firing mortar rounds into a village such as Masteri, which has large
concentrations of displaced persons (many poised to flee to Chad,
according to the UN High Commission for Refugees), amounts to little
more than indiscriminate civilian destruction, with the presence of
insurgents a mere pretext.

Indeed, reports of extremely brutal military assaults on civilians---by
both Khartoum and the Janjaweed---have been authoritatively reported in
all three administrative states of Darfur. The regime's strategy for
circumventing the terms of the November 9 Abuja "Security Protocol" is
now clear: using any military "provocation" (real or contrived) by the
insurgents as pretext, Khartoum will unleash massively disproportional
military responses, and count on the inability of the international
community to articulate effectively how disproportional this response
is.

A telling sign of international behavior in this vein is reflected in a
comment by UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast in
his briefing of the UN Security Council on December 7, 2004:

"The [Sudan] Government's use of aerial bombing in retaliation [for
insurgency attacks], if confirmed, would also be in breach of the Abuja
Protocols." (Statement to the UN Security Council, December 7, 2004)

"If confirmed...." But of course the use of aerial military assets by
Khartoum was fully confirmed over a week before Prendergast spoke. The
New York Times reported on African Union monitors taking photographs of
a bomb crater in the highly volatile Tawilla area of North Darfur on
November 29, 2004:

"On Sunday morning [November 28, 2004], a team of nine African Union
military observers, trailed by the first journalists to visit this town
[Tawilla] since the attack last week, stared at the shallow crater that
a government bomb had left in this now charred group of huts." (New York
Times [dateline: Tawilla], November 29, 2004 [filed November 28, 2004])

Another news correspondent reported from the Tawilla area on November
28, 2004 that, "about a half mile east of Tawilla, a Knight Ridder
reporter and photographer found four more [bomb] craters" (Knight Ridder
[dateline: Tawilla], November 28, 2004). AU investigators would
certainly have also seen these craters.

Prendergast is evidently not interested in the inconvenient but fully
established fact that Khartoum has egregiously violated a key term of
the Abuja Security Protocol. Indeed, Save the Children/UK had publicly
reported Khartoum's bombing in Tawilla at the time it occurred---yet a
week earlier (and because of this statement was targeted by Khartoum for
harassment):

"Save the Children/UK said about 30 of its workers were forced to flee
on foot when a bomb landed about 50 metres from one of its feeding
centres in [Tawilla] town." (Reuters, November 23, 2004)

Mr. Prendergast had no need for further "confirmation" of Khartoum's
deliberate, indiscriminate bombing attacks; rather, what was missing, as
so often with UN political officials, was a willingness to tell the
truths that are known. Indeed, Amnesty International had
authoritatively reported the day before Prendergast's comments:

"Two days later [November 28, 2004---i.e., two days after the abduction
of 19 men by Khartoum's army and Khartoum-backed Janjaweed], the
Sudanese army and the Janjawid launched a massive raid on Adwa, which
was already swollen by tens of thousands of people forced from their
homes by previous Janjawid raids. An Antonov aircraft and two
helicopter gunships also bombed the town. Estimates of those killed
range from 90 to 140. [ ] Some 40,000 people are said to have fled to
nearby areas. African Union monitors who came to investigate the attack
the following day also came under fire, apparently from the Janjawid."
(Amnesty International press release, December 6, 2004; AI Index: AFR
54/161/2004)

These are the inconvenient realities Prendergast chose to ignore in
addressing the Security Council. This unwillingness to speak honestly
about Khartoum's actions in Darfur is part of an ongoing effort to
create a factitious "moral equivalence" between the regime and the
insurgents, motivated in large part by what is transparently UN
impotence in responding meaningfully to the crisis, particularly within
the Security Council.

Jan Pronk, Kofi Annan's special representative for Sudan, is equally
culpable, especially in refusing to look at the series of events that
have defined escalating violence in the Tawilla area. Pronk has also
responded in wholly inadequate fashion to the numerous credible reports
of massively disproportional military "response" by Khartoum in other
areas of Darfur, and to ongoing violent abuse in the camps for displaced
persons (the Sudan Organization Against Torture [SOAT] has recently
provided a number of highly authoritative and detailed reports on
abductions, arbitrary arrests, torture, death from torture, and rape by
Khartoum's security forces and the Janjaweed in the camps).

Most conspicuously, UN commentary on the violence in the Tawilla area
has consistently failed to recognize the terrible atrocities that are
the context for the violence now unfolding. One example from earlier
this year---one of scores---should suggest why it is entirely
unreasonable to expect restraint in the face of ongoing and
unconstrained Janjaweed predations in this area:

"In an attack on 27 February [2004] in the Tawilah [Tawilla] area of
northern Darfur, 30 villages were burned to the ground, over 200 people
killed and over 200 girls and women raped---some by up to 14 assailants
and in front of their fathers who were later killed. A further 150 women
and 200 children were abducted." (UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks, March 22, 2004)

Until there is honesty about the nature of human destruction over the
past 22 months of violent conflict in Darfur, it will be all too easy
for the UN to contrive "moral equivalence" in describing the continuing
violence, and thereby avoid the most basic truth about Darfur: the
Khartoum regime has no intention of halting the genocide, or disarming
the Janjaweed (who are not party to the November 9 Abuja Security
Protocol and act with according impunity, despite a UN Security Council
"demand" that Khartoum disarm this brutal force). Current
insecurity, created by massively disproportional military actions,
ensures that humanitarian capacity will remain severely limited.

THE CURRENT HUMANITARIAN SITUATION

The effort to provide food and other essential relief to civilians in
Darfur is failing. This is partly obscured by the shameful belatedness
of the UN's Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 8 (due at the beginning of
November). Nonetheless, much of the data that will appear in this
belated document is already available from various other sources. The
US Agency for International Development reports that:

"From November 1 to November 28, [the UN] World Food Program (WFP)
dispatched 20,151 metric tons of food commodities to implementing
partners for distribution to more than 1.1 million conflict-affected
beneficiaries. WFP's planned food distribution for November was 31,500
metric tons for 1.8 million beneficiaries." (US AID "fact sheet,"
Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency, December 3, 2004)

Disturbingly, WFP has without justification lowered its target figure
from 2 million to 1.8 million, even as the number of people in need of
food assistance is climbing rapidly throughout Darfur. Indeed, the
total number of conflict-affected persons in need of humanitarian
assistance is approximately 3 million (see below). As long ago as this
past June in the so-called day "90-day Plan of Action," the UN was
projecting a population in need of food assistance of 2 million people
for October. The October 1, 2004 UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 7)
clearly indicated that the "target population" for food in September was
over 2 million (Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 7, page 15, Chart 8).
On what basis other than expediency has the WFP lowered its target
figure for November?

Moreover, it must be stressed again that the quality of food aid is
seriously inadequate even for those beneficiaries who are reached. A
recent study by another part of WFP and the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention ("Emergency Nutrition Assessment of Crisis Affected
Populations, Darfur Region," based on data collected between September 2
and September 20, 2004), reported:

"Of those households with a ration card [troublingly, only 78%---ER]
that received a ration in September [2004], more than half did not
receive oil or pulses [leguminous foods] (64.5% and 72.8% respectively).
[ ] More than half of households (57%) only received a cereal in the
general ration in September." (page 3)

Nor are food supply issues going to diminish any time soon. The head
of the International Committee of the Red Cross recently estimated that
"around 2-3 million people in Sudan's Darfur region could be
dependent on food aid next year [2005] because insecurity has prevented
crop planting" (Reuters, November 30, 2004). This figure does not
include the refugee population in Chad, and presumes a very conservative
number for the needy populations in rural areas of Darfur presently
beyond humanitarian access or assessment. The number in need of food
aid will certainly be much closer to 3 million, and could well exceed
this immense number.

Moreover, there are few signs that security will permit a spring/early
summer planting season in 2005, ensuring that millions of people who are
food-dependent will continue to be so into 2006.

There are other problems with the humanitarian relief effort in Darfur.
The UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS), which has such large
oversight and reporting responsibilities for Darfur, has failed to
fashion itself into an effective team. It is, according to reports from
disaffected sources within UNAMIS, a "nightmare of bureaucracy,
inefficiency, and lack of direction." There is a lack of moral resolve
animating this ad hoc organization, far too much merely intellectual
debate, and too little hard work.

>From the field in Darfur, another extremely seasoned humanitarian
worker reports that there is severe deficiency in the overall quality of
staff on the ground. While there are of course superb personnel, there
are far too many problems in the skill level and field experience of
many aid workers, as well as excessive turnover. Moreover, the
management capacity and "energy level" on the ground is described as
"deplorable," and there is concern that in many quarters there is
insufficient capacity to absorb efficiently new revenues and supplies.
Infighting between UN agencies is also reliably reported. Clearly there
are severe problems and UNAMIS seems wholly inadequate to provide the
necessary oversight. Again, there are notable exceptions, but the
global picture of humanitarian personnel, management, and UN operations
is troubling.

Khartoum also continues to interfere with humanitarian operations.
Reuters reports today that the regime has made good on its efforts to
expel Shaun Skelton, head of country operations for Oxfam International.
Oxfam was singled out for harassment because of its scathing criticism
of the entirely worthless UN Security Council Resolution 1574, November
19, 2004: "The head of the British charity Oxfam has left the country,
days after Sudanese officials ordered him to leave for working under a
wrong visa" (Reuters, December 12, 2004)

Even Kofi Annan is obliged to note in his December 3, 2004 report to
the Security Council that,

"during the last two weeks [of November], [Khartoum's] process of
issuing visas has slowed down for the nongovernmental organizations
[NGOs] compared to previous months. In addition, some Government
authorities seem to have hardened their position towards international
NGOs in allowing them to continue their work unconditionally." (Section
VII, paragraph 28)

THE NUMBER OF DISPLACED PERSONS

The number of displaced persons continues to be severely under-reported
in various quarters. Agence France-Presse reported on November 23, 2004
that a senior UN World Food Program official had declared: "By December,
there will be two million displaced persons," and that "this estimate of
the region's torrents of displaced persons was a staggering 300,000
people higher than a World Food Program estimate issued just one week
ago [November 16, 2004]" (AFP, November 23, 2004).

But even this estimate for the current month does not take account of
refugees in Chad or the large numbers of people displaced since November
23, 2004. In one example, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) reported on December 1, 2004:

"Two thousand civilians were yesterday forced to flee the village of
Saraf Ayat in North Darfur, following the latest in a series of attacks
in the region. Many of those caught up in yesterday's [November 30,
2004] attack had already been forcibly displaced from their original
home villages several days." (MSF, Brussels/Khartoum, December 1, 2004)

Though unstated, the circumstances of the MSF dispatch make
unambiguously clear that this was a Janjaweed attack. And again the
December 6, 2004 account from Amnesty International indicates the flight
of 40,000 civilians from the Adwa area north of Nyala, South Darfur (see
above).

In calculating the total number of displaced persons, it is important
to recognize that this number has been rising for months (since June
2004) at an average rate of 150,000 per month (Darfur Humanitarian
Profile No. 7 [October] shows a straight-line rise in the graph
representing internal displacement [page 6, chart 2]). The number of
internally displaced persons (IDPs) increased from approximately 1
million in June 2004 to 1.6 million at the beginning of October
2004---again, an average monthly increase of 150,000. In short, there
are presently, according to these UN data, approximately 2 million IDPs,
the very figure suggested by the UN's WHO for December 2004 (see
above).

But this figure does not include the more than 200,000 people who are
refugees in Chad; nor does it represent displacement within the
increasingly distressed rural populations that are beyond humanitarian
access or even assessment---populations likely in excess of the 500,000
estimated in Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 6 (September 2004). These
populations have continued to be targeted for destruction and
displacement by both the Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular military
forces. The data in aggregate suggest a total displaced population of
2.5 million in the greater humanitarian theater. Beyond this, there are
likely another 500,000 in growing need of humanitarian assistance. This
includes host families and communities whose food supplies have been
exhausted; increasingly distressed populations in urban areas not part
of the camps; and the remaining elements of the rural population beyond
humanitarian reach or access, who may not have been displaced but are
unable to produce or acquire food.

DISAGGREGATED MORTALITY ESTIMATES

There are two appendices offered here in support of the conclusions
about global mortality in Darfur with which this assessment began:
Appendix 1 on violent deaths as of October 8, 2004, and Appendix 2 on
deaths from malnutrition and disease.

There have been no recent important additions to the data or reports
bearing on violent mortality. It is, however, important to bear in mind
a conclusion reached in a key study of violent mortality (The Lancet,
October 1, 2004) and recently reiterated by MSF in connection with the
Janjaweed attack on Saraf Ayat:

"Mortality studies carried out by MSF show that during the early phases
of the Darfur conflict the pattern of repeated violence and consequent
displacement was the cause of very high mortality." (MSF,
Brussels/Khartoum, December 1, 2004)

Given the high levels of continued violent displacement over the past
two months, we must assume that many thousands more have died, in
addition to the figure cited here in Appendix 1. A figure of "over
200,000" violent deaths looks increasingly conservative.

Appendix 2 presents the data and analysis indicating that approximately
135,000 people had died of disease and malnutrition as of November 16,
2004.

The mortality assessment of November 16 also provided data (primarily
from the UN's World Health Organization and the two most recent Darfur
Humanitarian Profiles) indicating a monthly mortality rate of 30,000
(again, full text of this previous mortality assessment is available at
Sudan Tribune). Given the continuing severe shortfalls in humanitarian
relief, this monthlymortality rate is clearly rising along with the global Crude
Mortality Rate (deaths per day per 10,000 of affected population); the
denominator for the current CMR is certainly also increasing (here the
continued increase in the number of displaced persons is of particular
relevance).An increasing CMR and a population of more, and more
severely affected, persons justifies extrapolation of a current monthly
mortality rate of approximately 35,000.

Total mortality to date is thus approximately 370,000.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

413-585-3326
ereeves@smith.edu
******************************
Appendix 1: October 8, 2004 Retrospective Assessment of Violent Deaths

The previous mortality analysis by this writer (September 15, 2004)
highlighted several important new sources of mortality data. The most
important of these was a very extensive study conducted by the
distinguished Coalition for International Justice ("Documenting
Atrocities in Darfur"). On the basis of 1,136 carefully randomized
interviews, conducted among the Darfuri refugee population in Chad at a
number of camp locations along the border, the Coalition for
International Justice (CIJ) found that "sixty-one percent [of those
interviewed] reported witnessing the killing of a family member."

The total number of refugees in Chad is now greater than 200,000. If
we assume that this population of persons displaced from Darfur is
representative of many hundreds of thousands of violently displaced
persons within Darfur, then the total number people represented by the
CIJ study is over 1.5 million, and may reach to 2 million.

How do we establish the approximate figure for those people violently
displaced, either into camps, into towns, within inaccessible rural
areas in Darfur---or into Chad?

In its most recent "Darfur Humanitarian Profile," the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that 1.45 million people
have been displaced into accessible camps within Darfur; this figure is
based on food assistance registrations by UN and nongovernmental
humanitarian organizations ("Darfur Humanitarian Profile," No. 6,
September 16, 2004, page 5). The UN report also estimates that an
"additional 500,000 conflict-affected persons are in need of
assistance" (page 9), and it is reasonable to assume that most of these
are displaced persons in inaccessible rural areas. (Even a figure of
500,000 almost certainly understates the number of displaced persons in
rural areas.) Moreover, the UN report does not attempt to assess either
the host communities or the size of displaced populations in the three
state capitals because there are still no systematic food registrations
in these large urban areas.

Thus out of a total displaced population in Darfur of over 2 million,
we require an estimate of the number of persons who experienced violent
displacement of the sort that created refugees in Chad. Given the
extremely high level of village destruction throughout Darfur, and the
tenacity with which these people have sought to cling to their land and
livelihoods, displacement per se is a very likely indicator of violent
displacement.

Moreover, a recent epidemiological study published in The Lancet offers
clear evidence that displacement is overwhelmingly related to violent
attacks. In two camps, Zalingei and Murnei, statistically rigorous
assessments found that "direct attack on the village" accounted for
displacement of 92.8% of the Zalingei population and 97.4% of the Murnei
population (the combined camp populations is approximately 110,000) (The
Lancet, October 1, 2004, "Violence and mortality in West Darfur,
2003-04").

If we conservatively assume that 80% of the total displaced populations
that have remained in Darfur were driven to flee by "direct attack on
villages," the number of violently displaced persons is 1.6 million.

This yields a total figure of violent displacement, for Chad and
Darfur, of very approximately 1.8 million. The average family size in
Darfur is slightly more than five, suggesting that a population of 1.8
million represents almost 360,000 families. If randomized interviews by
the Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) find that "sixty-one
percent [of those interviewed] reported witnessing the killing of a
family member," then this yields a mortality figure for violent deaths
of over 200,000 human beings.

Caveats and other considerations:

There is some chance that despite randomizing of interviews in Chad,
and multiple camp locations at which interviews were conducted, overlaps
exist in the "family members" identified as having been seen killed.
This is a negligible number if "family" refers to nuclear family.
Indeed, the chances of overlap even for members of extended families are
quite small, given the diversity of interview locations.

More significant is the fact that those conducting interviews for the
CIJ found that interviewees often reported more than one family member
had been killed, often several more than one. Yet the statistical
derivation offered here presumes that only one family member has been
killed among the 61% who reported seeing (at least) one family member
killed.

Secondly, the study cannot take account of the number of families in
which all members were killed, and who thus had no reporting presence in
the camps where interviews took place. The CIJ study does report that
28% of those interviewed "directly witnessed" persons dying from the
consequences of displacement before reaching Chad. These deaths must be
considered the direct consequence of violence, if not violent deaths per
se, and would significantly increase violent mortality totals.

Moreover, the CIJ study indicates that 67% of those interviewed
"directly witnessed" the killing of a non-family member." As the raw
data from the CIJ study is soon scheduled for release, it may be
possible to put this extraordinary figure in a statistical context that
is yet more revealing of violent mortality. Given the number camp
locations (19), and the randomizing techniques used within the camps---

"refugees were selected using a systematic, random sampling approach
designed to meet the condition in Chad. Interviewers randomly selected
a sector within a refugee camp and then, from a fixed point within the
sector, chose every 10th dwelling unit for interviewing. [ ] One adult
[from the dwelling unit] was randomly selected [for interviewing]" (page
5)---

---the figure of 67% of refugees "directly witnessing" the death of a
non-family member strongly suggests that assumptions made in this
analysis may lead to significant underestimation.

In light of these various CIJ findings, and data reported in The
Lancet, a figure of 200,00 violent deaths over the past 20 months of
conflict seems a conservative estimate.
***************************
Appendix 2: November 16, 2004: Retrospective Assessment of Deaths from
Disease and Malnutrition

Mortality figures and reports continue to be very badly misrepresented
in news accounts; this is true in particular of the assessment by the UN
World Health Organization (WHO) study of health-related mortality in
Darfur. This misrepresentation has had the extremely unfortunate effect
of giving apparent UN authority to a putative total morality figure of
"50,000" deaths (and more recently "70,000"). What the WHO study and
accompanying public commentary represented---as explicitly confirmed to
this writer by David Nabarro, chief of emergency operations for
WHO---was a figure of more than 50,000 deaths from disease and
malnutrition, from early April 2004 to mid-September 2004, in camps to
which there has been humanitarian access.

The WHO figure did not include violent deaths; it did not represent
morality in Chad; and it did not represent mortality in areas
inaccessible to humanitarian operations. Most significantly, it did not
include deaths from disease and malnutrition prior to April 2004 (again,
the conflict began in February 2003). In short, the mid-September WHO
figure was of highly limited relevance. Further, as Dr. Nabarro
confirmed to this writer by telephone communication, the WHO figure for
monthly mortality should be closer to 10,000 in the "6,000 to 10,000
deaths per month" range reported as coming from WHO. Only such a higher
number begins to take adequate account of populations more difficult to
assess.

In the two months since the WHO report was published (assuming with
Nabarro the higher mortality rate), 20,000 people have died, suggesting
that more than 70,000 people have died in accessible areas since April
2004.

Mortality in rural areas to which there is no access is best assessed
on the basis of the US Agency for International Development projections
("Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005")
We may use as a very conservative denominator for these projections the
figure of 500,000 inaccessible persons in need of humanitarian
assistance, promulgated by the UN in its September "Darfur Humanitarian
Profile" No. 6 (troublingly, no updated figure was estimated in the
October "Darfur Humanitarian Profile" No. 7). For the past five months,
US AID projections indicate an average Crude Mortality Rate of almost 10
per day per 10,000 (for a population without humanitarian relief and
experiencing severe food shortages). Over 150 days, assuming an average
denominator of 500,000, total mortality is approximately 75,000. These
deaths would be primarily among very young children, the elderly, and
those made vulnerable from violent trauma.

Still, a figure of 75,000 may be too high for several reasons,
primarily the highly developed foraging abilities of these people and
the use (and likely exhaustion) of food reserves. On the other hand,
insecurity produced by continuing Janjaweed predations would compromise
both of these food sources. If we assume (very conservatively) that a
figure of 75,000 overstates by 100%, this still leaves a figure of over
35,000 deaths from malnutrition and related disease over the past five
months in inaccessible areas of Darfur. Together with the figure
deriving from the September WHO report and data, this suggests a
composite figure of 105,000 deaths from malnutrition and disease since
April 2004.

Still excluded from this figure, however, is the number of deaths from
disease and malnutrition during the period February 2003 to April 2004.
During this period several humanitarian organizations reported high
Crude Mortality Rates at various junctures. Many thousands died in the
camps, especially children, though there is no systematic data that
permits extrapolation of a total figure. If we assume a level of death
from disease and malnutrition only one-fifth the current rate estimated
by WHO (for a stronger camp population, and one that has only gradually
grown to its present size), then another 30,000 have died from these
causes.

Total mortality from disease and malnutrition is thus approximately
135,000.


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