1.9 Million Dead from Sudan's Civil War; More Than 70,000 Deaths in 1998, Report Estimates

Report
from US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Published on 10 Dec 1998
At least 1.9 million people in southern and central Sudan have died during the past 15 years as a direct result of civil war and intentional policies of the Sudan government, according to a newly updated study released today by the U.S. Committee for Refugees. The massive loss of life in Sudan far surpasses the death toll in any other current civil war anywhere in the world.
The report estimates that more than 70,000 Sudanese civilians have died of war-related causes in the first half of 1998 alone and predicts the ultimate death toll this year will climb significantly higher as more research becomes available.

It is believed that at least one out of every five southern Sudanese has died because of the 15-year civil war, and more than 80 percent of southern Sudan's estimated 5 million population have been displaced at some time since 1983. Some 4 million Sudanese are internally displaced - more than any other country on earth - and nearly 350,000 are refugees in six neighboring countries.

The findings on deaths in Sudan are contained in a new USCR report, "Quantifying Genocide in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains: 1983-1998." The report updates a groundbreaking 1993 study sponsored by USCR which found that Sudan's war-related death toll was, at that time, twice as high as previously believed. Both the 1993 study and the new 1998 USCR report are based on an exhaustive compilation of year-by-year reports as well as internal Sudanese government documents.

The 1.9 million deaths in Sudan since 1983 were attributable to the violence of war, war-related famine and disease, and Sudanese government policies that spread conflict, forced southern Sudanese to relocate, and blocked relief efforts by the United Nations and international relief agencies. Splits within Sudan's rebel army have added to the killing and population displacement in recent years. The report states that its estimate of 1.9 million deaths is "conservative."

"The [Sudan] government has been relatively successful in sealing off much of Sudan from the prying eyes of journalists, aid agencies, and social scientists," the report states. As a result, the death toll during the past five years "has been much harder to quantify accurately."

The new report, unlike USCR's 1993 study, includes estimates of war-related deaths in central Sudan's remote Nuba Mountain area, where more than 100,000 to 200,000 people are believed to have perished because of the conflict. Despite the extent of suffering,"There has been no government or international agency effort to compile casualty statistics in the Nuba Mountains and southern Sudan," the report states. "Hundreds of thousands have died, but the deaths have usually occurred in small numbers, in a thousand villages, many of which are isolated."

"Sudan's civil war has been characterized by an incremental ferocity that has left untouched practically no one. . . in southern Sudan," the report states.

"Quantifying Genocide in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains:1983 1998" was researched and written by USCR consultant Millard Burr, former director of logistics for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Sudan. To obtain a copy of the report,contact Gabrielle Bushman at (202) 347-3507.

For more information, see USCR Website at <http://www.refugees.org/>

The U.S. Committee for Refugees is a humanitarian, nongovernmental organization that defends the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced people worldwide.