UN: Darfur death toll could be 300,000

According to a UN estimate, the crisis in Darfur may have claimed up to 300,000 lives. Sudanese authorities have dismissed the figure, claiming its is closer to 10,000. P.Bolopion reports from the UN in New York.


Up to to 300,000 people may have died from the combined effects of war, famine and disease in Sudan's Darfur region since 2003, UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said Tuesday although he conceded this was just an "extrapolation."

"A study in 2006 suggested that 200,000 had lost their lives from the combined effects of the conflict," John Holmes told the UN Security Council. "That figure must be much higher now, perhaps half as much again."

Queried about how he arrived at the new figure, Holmes later told reporters: "I am not saying I am sure. I said it's a reasonable hypothesis, a reasonable extrapolation from the previous figures from studies done elsewhere."             "I am not trying to suggest this is a very scientifically-based figure. It is not a very scientifically-based figure, except on the basis of extrapolation,' he added.

Sudan's UN Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem immediately dismissed Holmes' latest figure, telling reporters: "In our own calculation, the total number (od deaths) does not exceed 10,000. This is the latest figure."

He said this tally did not include those Darfurians who died from diseases, malnutrition or starvation.

"Any additional number (of deaths) would be very minimal, he added.

Holmes recalled that the figure of 200,000 dead had been used by the United Nations in 2006 based on extrapolation contained in a study by the World health Organization.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning