Current data for total mortality from violence, malnutrition, and disease
Eric Reeves | June 30, 2005
A recent Reuters headline declares, “Darfur Death rate drops below crisis level—UN” (June 28, 2005). It is likely that this will signal to many that the Darfur crisis is gradually being brought under control and that as bad as things have been, they are now likely to get better. But what has the UN actually said? And what are the realities of human mortality in Darfur?
The Reuters headline conveys only an exceedingly partial picture of the humanitarian news from Darfur, and is meaningless without a great deal more context than is provided. It should be emphasized first that the authoritative UN study on which the Reuters dispatch is based does not attempt to represent a global mortality figure for the past 28 months of extremely violent conflict in Darfur and continuing genocide by attrition. It does offer evidence of a very significant decline in mortality rates over the past six months. But even with a much lower Crude Mortality Rate (CMR) of .8 for the three Darfur states (North, West, and South), this still means that well over 6,000 people are dying every month within Darfur’s “conflict-affected populations” as a result of Khartoum’s genocidal policies (see below).
Moreover, the survey indicates that some populations are still experiencing mortality rates above the “crisis level.” There is great variability in the CMR (deaths per affected 10,000 of population per day) within the three Darfur states, and in some areas the mortality rate is still clearly in excess of the “crisis level” (see page 6 of the UN’s “Mortality Survey in Darfur, May-June 2005: Main Findings,” Khartoum, June 2005). The “crisis level” for adults is a CMR of 1.0; for children under five it is 2.0. In the camps for displaced persons in South Darfur, the CMR for children under five is 2.6—still well above the “crisis level.”
It is also important to see the limitations in reach of this new study of mortality rates in Darfur. In North Darfur and West Darfur the study was able to sample populations in camps for the displaced, displaced populations outside the camps, and affected residents. But in South Darfur, where violence has been greatest during the six-month period covered by the study (November 2004-May 2005), only the camps for internally displaced persons were surveyed. In other words, this study tells us nothing about the mortality rate among displaced persons outside camps in South Darfur, or among resident conflict-affected populations.
This is a very serious gap, especially since the last UN World Health Organization (WHO) study—published in September/October 2004—included only the mortality rate for Kalma camp (near Nyala, South Darfur). South Darfur is far and away the most populous of the three Darfur states, with a population of 3.1 million—almost twice that of West Darfur (1.6 million) or North Darfur (1.6 million) (figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).
It is also important to understand that the new survey represents only UN-accessible areas. The study does not include areas to which the UN (for security reasons) has no access; these areas are huge and have a population of many hundreds of thousands of people, largely beyond the reach of UN and non-UN humanitarian assistance (food aid to rural areas by the International Committee of the Red Cross is the most notable exception). These people almost certainly have mortality rates significantly higher than those populations with access to humanitarian aid (see below).
Indeed, the thesis of the new UN mortality rate study is that humanitarian assistance is responsible for the decline from the very high mortality rates revealed by the September/October 2004 WHO study. Conversely, the continuing absence of humanitarian assistance—especially with food reserves exhausted, and insecurity preventing foraging—strongly suggests that significantly higher mortality rates prevail in areas not surveyed by the study.
What does this new study tell us about the actual numbers of people who have died on a monthly basis? And about global mortality totals for Darfur? The study has not yet been made available in full, but it is important to stress again that it is an assessment of mortality rates in accessible areas. Neither the UN press release nor the preliminary results (“Mortality Survey in Darfur, May-June 2005: Main Findings,” Khartoum, June 2005) offer a global mortality figure, or even a mortality rate denominator, i.e., a total population figure for which the mortality rates are relevant.
But the most recent UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 14, representing “the situation as of May 1, 2005”) indicates a conflicted-affected population in Darfur of 2,738,559. The precision of the figure is revealing, for it is primarily based—as is the new UN study of mortality rates—on individual UN World Food Program registrations. Obviously this statistical “universe” does not include those whom the WFP has not reached, or who have not been registered by non-UN humanitarian organizations (primarily again the ICRC).
The actual number of conflict-affected persons in Darfur is much greater than suggested by food registrations (and this does not include the approximately 200,000 refugees in eastern Chad). Moreover, the figure of 2,738,559 is as of May 1, 2005—two months ago. The graph showing the relentless increase in conflict-affected persons (Chart 3, UN Humanitarian Profile No. 14, page 8) strongly suggests that the current figure is in the range of 3 million—again, excluding inaccessible conflict-affected rural populations.
A figure for these latter populations can only be an approximation, based largely on estimates of Darfur’s pre-war population and ethnic make-up (the UN Darfur Humanitarian profiles have used a total population figure of 6.3 million for Darfur; the UN World Health Organization uses a figure well over 6.5 million). But we cannot exclude an approximate figure here without risk of seriously distorting the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Given the extreme insecurity prevailing in rural Darfur and its effects on critical foraging abilities, given the failure of last season’s primary planting season and harvest (and the impending failure of the current primary planting season), the depletion of food reserves over the past two years, as well as the increasing effects of the conflict on nomadic populations (primarily Arab), a figure of 500,000 is appropriate (a view shared by a number of humanitarian experts), and echoes an estimate made in Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 6 (September 1, 2004, page 9; see below).
In other words, approximately 3.5 million people are now conflict-affected, with many populations experiencing significantly higher mortality rates than those captured in the UN study. Assuming a global Crude Mortality Rate (CMR) of .9 (.1 higher than the UN mortality study of only accessible areas), and subtracting .3 (what UNICEF suggests is a “normal” CMR for Darfur), monthly mortality in Darfur that can be attributed to violence, disease, and malnutrition stands currently at over 6,000 (derived from a conflict-generated CMR of .6 for a population of 3.5 million x 30 days=6,300 “excess” deaths per month).
If this monthly mortality rate, for the period November 2004 to May 2005, is included as the governing rate for the most recent global mortality assessment by this writer (April 30, 2005 at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=505&page=1), a revision downward of approximately 40,000 is dictated in calculating the current (June 30, 2005) total mortality, or a figure of 360,000 dead.
THE UN MORTALITY FIGURE OF “180,000”
A figure of 360,000 is still double the most often cited UN mortality figure, first promulgated by Jan Egeland (UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs) in early March 2005, and subsequently unchanged But the problems with the figure of 180,000 are immense and transparent, though they have escaped the notice of a great deal of lazy journalism. How did the “180,000” figure come into existence? And what compromises it?
The UN figure represents a simple multiplication (by 18 months) of the monthly mortality rate that emerged from the UN World Health Organization mortality study published in September 2004, with a corresponding October 2004 analysis, “Morality Projections for Darfur.” The mortality study and “Mortality Projections” followed a WHO survey of accessible camps in Darfur; it yielded for August 2004 a mortality rate of “2.6 per 10,000 per day, with a worst and best case range of 1.6 to 3.2” (UN World Health Organization, “Mortality Projections for Darfur,” October 15, 2004, by Dr. David Nabarro, Director-General, Health Action in Crises at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/briefings/2004/mb5/en/—hereafter “MPD”).
Though a percentage of the mortality WHO found was related to violence, the WHO’s Nabarro declared that most deaths were “due to diarrhoeal disease exacerbated by malnutrition.” This is hardly surprising, since the ambition of the study was to “assess [the number] of displaced people in Darfur [who] have died as a direct result of the conditions in which they are living since March 1, 2004” (MPD, page 3). The study was essentially of people in camps for displaced persons, and WHO’s Nabarro was able to say of populations in inaccessible areas of Darfur only that:
“Areas which are relatively inaccessible [ ] appear to be much worse off than those which can be accessed. We do not have data. However, we estimate that mortality is at the higher end of the range—at least 3 per day per 10,000—in these inaccessible areas.” (MPD, page 2)
The WHO study and mortality projections assume a “normal” Crude Mortality Rate of 0.5 for Darfur, even though a 2003 UNICEF report suggests that the appropriate figure is 0.3 (UNICEF, “The State of the World’s Children,” 2003). The WHO uses as its denominator the figure of 1.45 million Internally Displaced Persons (the UN’s Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 6, September 1, 2004, cites a figure of 1,449,690 [page 5, Chart 1]).
But the WHO study and mortality projections make no attempt to quantify the denominator for those displaced persons not in camps or reflected in food registrations. Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 6 estimates that “an additional 500,000 conflict-affected persons are in need of assistance based on preliminary reports” (page 9); a great many of these were obviously displaced, as has been borne out by subsequent Darfur Humanitarian Profiles (the current Profile figure for Internally Displaced Persons, as reflected in food registrations, is 1.88 million—an increase of more than 400,000 since August 2004).
Thus though the WHO mortality projections were presented as having a range of 5,000-10,000 per month (in the seven months from March 1, 2004 to October 1, 2004), representing a total mortality of 35,000-70,000 (MPD, page 3), all evidence suggests that the high-end figure of 10,000 deaths per month was itself a low estimate at the time, particularly in light of the inappropriately high “normal” CMR for Darfur and the lack of data for inaccessible areas. For example, a conservative assumption of 300,000 additionally displaced persons in inaccessible areas, with a Crude Mortality Rate of “at least 3 per 10,000 per day” (MPD, page 2), represents an additional 3,000 deaths per month (a CMR of 4.0 for such a population would represent an additional 4,000 deaths per month).
But the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) chose in early March 2005 to establish a global mortality figure for Darfur based on 10,000 deaths per month, multiplied by 18 months (evidently reasoning that significant mortality in the camps, and what would become accessible areas for humanitarian organizations, began in September 2003, and subsequently averaged 10,000 per month through March 2005). And thus the figure now so commonly cited by news sources of “180,000.”
For all its crudity, this procedure may in fact establish a rough estimate of mortality related to malnutrition and disease (and the not inconsiderable violence associated with existence in camps and accessible areas). Deaths from malnutrition and disease were relatively low in the earlier part of this time period, even as violent deaths were at their greatest; and following an extended peak in summer 2004, deaths from disease and malnutrition have diminished as humanitarian assistance has become more effective.
But what is glaringly absent from such a mortality assessment is any serious account of the violent human destruction that defined most earlier phases of the conflict, from late spring 2003 through January 2005. The WHO cannot be faulted for this absence: the study produced in September 2004 and the accompanying October “Mortality Projections for Darfur” sought not to quantify the violent deaths that produced and accompanied displacement, but rather “the conditions in which [displaced persons] are living since March 1, ” (MPD, page 3). Most deaths, the WHO declared, “are due to diarrhoeal disease exacerbated by malnutrition” (MPD, page 1). This is in fact consistent with the most recent mortality study, which found that “among those children who died in West Darfur, nearly fifty percent died of diarrhea, which is a preventable condition” (UN Mission in Sudan Press Release on Darfur Mortality Study, June 28, 2005).
If the WHO warrants criticism, it is for not specifying clearly enough precisely what it had done, though here it must be said that Dr. David Nabarro personally clarified the meaning of the original WHO report on mortality in an e-mail communication to this writer, following what he insisted were misrepresentations of his remarks by the press: of the deaths reported, Nabarro declared that they were “Internally Displaced Persons [who] have died from disease (in some cases exacerbated by malnutrition)” (e-mail communication to this writer from Dr. David Nabarro, September 15, 2004). Such clarification was certainly available to journalists and wire-service reporters, who have almost universally chosen not to inquire seriously into the meaning of the original WHO mortality study/projections of mortality (September/October 2004). Nor have journalists inquired about how these earlier efforts define the currently promulgated UN global mortality figure of “180,000.”
What is the total of violent deaths in Darfur? Though here we cannot rely on either past or current WHO mortality studies, the data assembled by the Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) in August 2004 clearly indicates that violent mortality to date is conservatively estimated at over 200,000. The detailed appendix to this writer’s April 30, 2005 “Darfur Mortality Assessment” (URL above) outlines the statistical implications of the CIJ data—data that currently have no rival, even as all reports and accounts from the ground in Darfur suggest that violent mortality still constitutes the greater percentage of overall mortality in Darfur.
It was on the authority of the CIJ report (“Documenting Atrocities in Darfur,” September 2004) that former US Secretary of State Colin Powell made his genocide determination in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (September 13, 2004). Those who conducted the 1,136 CIJ interviews along the Chad/Darfur border included human rights experts, law enforcement officials, genocide scholars, forensic experts, and those with significant experience in the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Though not designed as a mortality study, the CIJ report yields far too much data not to be utilized as much as is statistically possible in the absence of any rival data.
Given the assessment of violent mortality a year ago by Asma Jahangir, former UN Special Rapporteur for “extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,” we do not have the luxury of dismissing the CIJ report simply because it was not designed as a mortality study (see Appendix 1 below):
“Ms. Jahangir said that during her visit, ‘nearly every third or fourth family’ she spoke to in the camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) within Darfur had lost a relative to the militias. ‘It’s very hard to say [accurately] how many people have been killed,’ she said, but interviews with IDPs indicated it would be ‘quite a large number. They are bound to be staggering.'” (UN News Centre, June 29, 2004)
The CIJ report was certainly sufficiently persuasive to serve as a basis for a recent mortality assessment by two distinguished epidemiologists, John Hagan of Northwestern University and Patricia Parker of the University of Toronto (relevant documents for the Kagan/Parker study are available at http://www.cij.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=homepage). This writer believes that the Kagan/Parker analysis significantly understates the implications of the CIJ data for violent mortality, even as it overstates mortality represented by the September/October WHO reports on disease and malnutrition. But their final figure of 390,000 comes very close to the figure of 360,000 deaths suggested above. Moreover, their figure might also be lowered in light of the new UN/WHO mortality rate study. (For an analysis of the Kagan/Parker study, see Appendix 1 to April 30, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer; URL above.)
MORTALITY RATES IN THE NEAR FUTURE
As encouraging as the news is that Crude Mortality Rates have declined throughout Darfur, there remains cause for intense concern about ongoing genocide by attrition. For the forces that have destroyed approximately 360,000 human beings are still at work in Darfur. The Janjaweed—Khartoum’s primary military instrument in Darfur—remain completely unconstrained, despite the UN Security Council “demand” that Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed and bring its leaders to justice (Security Council Resolution 1556, July 30, 2004). In fact, the recent report to the UN Security Council by the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has only served to highlight the regime’s obduracy and determination to hold to its genocidal course (see below).
The insecurity generated by the Janjaweed ensures that human mortality will continue to climb at completely unacceptable rates in Darfur. Moreover, the current rainy season will reverse the decline in mortality rates as represented in the recent UN study. The seasonal rains dramatically increase the risk of malaria, as well as water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. As the UN morality study stresses in its “main conclusions”: “the health status in Darfur is extremely fragile,” “the humanitarian situation of Darfur is extremely fragile,” and “downsizing aid will lead to severe humanitarian crisis” (“Mortality Survey in Darfur, May-June 2005: Main Findings,” Khartoum, June 2005).
Such “downsizing of aid” is already evident in the continuing failure of many wealthy nations (e.g., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the oil-rich Arab countries) to contribute significantly to humanitarian operations in Darfur. The UN and its humanitarian partners recently warned that there “is still a US $1.32 billion funding shortfall for humanitarian assistance and recovery programmes [for Sudan] in 2005” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 29, 2005). Despite generous promises made in Oslo (Norway) in April, there are clearly still many governments shortchanging Sudan—willing to gamble with peace in the south, and ignore the consequences of ongoing genocide in Darfur.
But “downsizing” will be a function chiefly of the ongoing insecurity that threatens humanitarian workers and transport. Insecurity is on the rise generally in Darfur, a fact highlighted in Kofi Annan’s most recent report to the UN Security Council. This results both from continuing Janjaweed predations as well as attacks on humanitarian relief convoys by increasingly desperate and disorganized insurgents. In addition, a general climate of lawlessness and banditry has come in the extraordinarily violent wake of Janjaweed assaults. The overall effect on humanitarian delivery will become increasingly consequential as the number of people in need of food aid continues to rise.
Indeed, it is difficult to overstate the range and significance of food aid problems created by insecurity in Darfur. A UN World Food Program press release of June 17, 2005 notes:
“Fighting has prevented the traditional export of camels to neighbouring markets and cattle sales within and outside Darfur, dramatically decreasing pastoralists’ purchasing power. In North Darfur, for example, the Kutum area used to have up to 15 markets. But conflict has closed all but one, which can only be reached with an armed escort. Fighting has reduced cultivation, cereal prices have rocketed, and supplies to the market have dwindled to almost nothing.” (“WFP Seeks to Feed More than Half Darfur’s Population,” June 17, 2005)
Also in North Darfur WFP reports:
“In Dar Zagawa, insecurity pushed people northwards, placing unbearable strains on scarce supplies of water and wild foods. An inter-agency mission in March warned that without immediate humanitarian aid, this deterioration will trigger an irreversible downward spiral into increased displacement of villages, possible tensions between host and IDP communities over access to water supplies, which may lead to a famine-like situation across the area.'”
Of course there has been no “immediate humanitarian aid” adequate to the crisis warned of, and the problems of Dar Zaghawa (“home of the Zaghawa”) continue to be mirrored and amplified throughout Darfur.
Indeed, even in areas where there has been nominal resettlement of displaced persons, acute and persistent insecurity makes impossible the resumption of agricultural production. Reuters reports from Sania Delaiba (South Darfur):
“Darfur refugees who returned to a village cited by Khartoum as a model of security say they are virtual prisoners, fearing renewed attack by Arab militias if they venture out. The inhabitants of Sania Delaiba in South Darfur state fled fighting and had their homes burnt last May. They returned home a few months later and were compensated by the Khartoum government, but say they feel trapped in their small village of about 2,000 inhabitants south of the state capital Nyala.”
“‘We didn’t come home just to sit here in our village and do nothing—we want to go out and farm,’ said Salih Eissa Abakr, a religious leader in the village. ‘We are scared of this area outside the village—there are Arab camel and cattle herders who attack us,’ he said. ‘There’s no woman who goes outside, not even the men want to go out of the village,’ said Halima Abdellahi Ahmed.” (Reuters, June 26, 2005)
Humanitarian reach is also being hampered by rains that have begun to flood the “wadis” (normally dry river beds that become torrential streams following heavy rains), severing transport arteries. Last rainy season the UN spoke of Darfur as a “logistical nightmare”; in this exceedingly remote region of Africa, tremendously distant from any navigable bodies of water, the nightmare has begun again.
But even in advance of the worst logistical difficulties that come with the rains there are other ominous portents. The head of the Desert Locust Control Organization of East Africa has warned that “swarms of destructive locusts [ ] are threatening to wipe out crops in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan” and that in East Africa, “Darfur was most at risk” (Reuters [Addis Ababa], June 27, 2005). Given the paucity of crops to begin with in Darfur, the threat of a locust invasion must be regarded with the utmost seriousness in assessing food needs.
This comes in the context of already deteriorating conditions in rural Darfur. WFP is seeking funds for an extra 84,000 Metric Tons of food to raise its monthly target to 3.25 million people of the 3.5 million the agency estimates will need food aid at the height of the rainy season. In pleading for this funding, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, WFP’s country director in Sudan, has recently noted:
“‘The Darfur conflict is now sadly halfway through its third year. In May, WFP fed 1.8 million people in Darfur, most of them stranded in camps after being forced from their homes and farms,’ said Ramiro Lopes da Silva. ‘But large numbers of others can no longer provide for themselves because of insecurity, drought, the poor harvest last year and with local markets closed. They don’t live in camps, but are all caught in the same Darfur trap and urgently need our help to survive.'” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 20, 2005)
A recent UN Situation Report on Darfur reports:
“there is increasing concern regarding the nutrition level of children under-five years of age in West Darfur. In a recently concluded nutrition survey, conducted by the Ministry of Health and partners around four camps in Geneina, the Global Acute Malnutrition Rate was 16.9% and the Severe Acute Malnutrition Rate was 1.5%.” (UN Situation Report on Darfur, June 28, 2005)
Both these figures are worrisome harbingers of impending increases in “under-five” mortality.
KHARTOUM AND THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
Much has been made of the recent report to the UN Security Council by lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, and his finding that “there is a significant amount of credible information disclosing the commission of grave crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court [which crimes include “crimes against humanity” and genocide] having taken place in Darfur” (“Report of the Prosecutor of the ICC to the Security Council, Pursuant to UNSCR 1593,” page 2). But as Ocampo also notes, the “initiation of the investigation marks the start of a new phase in the proceedings that will require specific, full, and unfettered cooperation of the Government of Sudan and other parties in the conflict” (page 5). This “requirement” was greeted all too predictably by the Khartoum regime, in the form of comments by “justice minister” Yassin:
“Sudan confirmed its unwillingness to cooperate with the international criminal court yesterday when a Sudanese minister rejected calls to extradite suspects accused of crimes in Darfur. The justice minister, Ali Mohammed Osman Yassin, told BBC radio that 10 suspects, most of them accused of rape, were already on trial in Sudan, repeating Khartoum’s line that suspects would be dealt with domestically.” (The Guardian [UK], “Sudan rejects ICC extradition calls,” June 30, 2005)
But this of course should have been expected; it is indeed, as the dispatch indicates, a “confirmation” of numerous previous statements from the most senior officials of the National Islamic Front regime.
But arguably the most important sentences in Ocampo’s report bear on the relationship between ICC proceedings and security conditions on the ground in Darfur, and the threat—clearly recognized by Ocampo—that Khartoum’s response to the international pursuit of justice will be an increased targeting of humanitarian organizations and potential witnesses:
“The information currently available highlights the significant security risks facing civilians, local and international humanitarian personnel in Darfur. These issues will present persistent challenges for the investigation.” (ICC Report to UNSC, page 8)
This is dangerous understatement: the Khartoum regime has consistently proved itself more than willing to undermine, obstruct, harass, or even attack humanitarian efforts in Darfur as a means of threatening the international community: “Don’t press us on Darfur, or we will retaliate against those most vulnerable in Darfur and those most instrumental in saving lives.”
This threat must be regarded with deep seriousness in any assessment of mortality rates going forward.
Northampton, MA 01063
APPENDIX 1: A recent mortality assessment by the Brussels-based Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) (“Darfur: Counting the Deaths,” May 26, 2005) is fatally compromised by its dismissal of the Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) data of August 2004. Though a full discussion of the study is impossible within the scope available here, it must be noted that the CIJ report is dismissed by the CRED authors primarily because it doesn’t conform to precise epidemiological norms.
The crucial fact that this data is the only systematic data on violent mortality—the greatest source of mortality in the Darfur conflict—seems not to register with the authors. No effort is made to utilize the data as much as possible; scandalously, no acknowledgment is made that without the CIJ data, we are left without any way of making sense of what the former UN Special Rapporteur for “extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions” has referred to (on the basis of her own observations) as “staggering” violent mortality (UN News Centre, June 29, 2004; see above). Moreover, in characterizing the CIJ study and interviews, the authors of the report become tendentious, and are on several counts simply in error:
“These [CIJ] interviews, and the derived mortality rate, undoubtedly represent the most violent period of the conflict, prior to any real international presence or humanitarian assistance, of a cohort tremendously impacted by violence.” (CRED study, page 7)
But without specifying what they consider to be the “most violent period of the conflict,” the authors are making an unintelligible assertion. In fact, the approximately 200,000 refugees along the Chad/Darfur border in August 2004 represented a population forcibly displaced over many months, indeed almost the entire year and a half of conflict at that point. There is no basis whatsoever for the claim that they represent only some putatively “most violent period of the conflict” within the time-frame February 2003 to August 2004. Moreover, the CIJ interviews took place in three geographically distinct regions and thus are further reflective of displacement as a whole within Darfur.
The authors of the CRED report imply that “international presence” and “humanitarian assistance” have had a positive impact on violence in Darfur: there is no evidence to support such an assertion and a great deal that argues powerfully against it. The authors further imply that the “cohort” of refugees in Chad has somehow been more “tremendously impacted by violence” than other displaced populations within Darfur itself. Again, there is simply no evidence for such an assertion. On the contrary, there are very good reasons for seeing the refugee population in Chad as highly representative of the broader violently displaced population in Darfur.
Since violent mortality remains–by all accounts from the ground in Darfur–the largest overall source of mortality in the conflict (even if current mortality rates increasingly reflect deaths from disease and malnutrition), the peremptory dismissal of the CIJ data fatally compromises the CRED study as a best effort to make global sense of Darfur’s mortality to date.