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Darfur - Environmental Impacts

Continued deforestation 

  • Lack of government controls - breakdown of law and order, difficult to regulate the amount of tree felling in the region. Depleted resources - the UN and provate aid groups struggles to devise a 'do no harm' policy as there were no alternative resources 
  • People in IDP camps earn money by producing mud bricks, which requires water and wood to fire kilns - equivalent of 35 trees to bake bricks in 1 kiln, each year 52,000 trees burnt for brick making 
  • Destroyed natural habitats and increased soil erosion and desertification in the region, and increased demand for water had led to the water table lowering, deprives certain trees of root water which contributes to desertification 
  • Nearly 1/2 of Darfur population (3 million) relocated to IDP camps - timber needed for shelters for both internally displaced people and NGO workers 
  • Government sponsered militias (Janjaweed) made profits selling hardwood sich as mahogany
  • Long term - Janjaweed Scorched Earths destroyed homes and villages, already limited wood needed to rebuild homes - approx 30-40 trees per house needed, 12-16 million trees needed to build homes for 2.5 million refugees 
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Darfur - Environmental Impacts

  • However an American NGO Berkeley is working with locals on developing new efficient stoves, significantly reduce the amount of timber needed. In a large camp next to El Fasher the NGO's international has introduced a redesigned stove thats uses up to 80% less wood. Nearly 75% of the camps families now use the stoves

Damage to the Land

  • Grazing lands have been burnt by the SLA rebels to impact on the Arab herders
  • Migration routes being blocked by conflict causing further overgrazing leading to desertification
  • Darfuri farms and villages have been burnt by the Janjaweed militia as part of their 'Scorched Earth' policy - had disastrous environmental consequences including pollution of the water table and severe soil erosion, making land unsuitable for farming 

Water Depletion 

  • Aid groups dug bore holes to provide water, Darfur's land is largely hard rock, so most of the rain that does fall during the June-September rainy season washes away - underground reserves are the only reliable water source,but the wells are depleting water
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Darfur - Economic Impacts

  • Destruction of villages and farms has forced the black population into refugee townships (IDP camps) that are almost completely reliant on foreign aid 
  • The revenue from oil in in southern Sudan has been used by the government to arm the Janjaweed to cause this destruction in Darfur 
  • Traditionally many men from the area worked in the oil industry in Libya, earning good money that was sent back to families. This meant a drastic loss of income for many families. The conflict led to the border between Sudan and Libya closing and tighter restrictions on Darfur migrants, consequently the jobs are no longer available - good example how conflicts can impact economically on surrounding countries as Libya loses an important supply of cheap labour 
  • The virtual imprisonment of the Darfurian peopel in the IDP camps means they have been cut off from their farms and therefore livelihoods. Going out from the camp to try and plant crops is too risky
  • In the IDP camps lack of food and water has led to 75% of local donkeys dying.The Darfur people identify ownership of a donkey as their greatest economic assest, used for farming and transporting water and fuel. Also can be turned into cash in times of need
  • Experts believe Darfur will depend on foreign aid for decades to come, an example of how conflcit can have a national long term impact beyond actual war
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Darfur - Social Impacts

  • Although there have been deaths and injuries on both sides the Darfur population has suffered most in this conflict
  • Since the conflict began in 2003 there have been: over 400,000 Darfur civillians killed - mostly murdered by the Janjaweed, 3 million people displaced in Sudan, 250,000 fled abroad,mainly Chad where they are facing further violence, around 90% of the villages of Darfur's targeted ethnic groups have been destroyed
  • The attacks have been horrifically brutal and women and children have suffered the most
  • Locals have been forced out of villages - they then become trapped in IDP camps
  • Shortages of food, water, firewood and medical supplies in the camps put victims at a high risk of disease and starvation. The situation was worsened by drought and consequent desertification in recent years
  • Women who had to collect firewood everyday were at a high risk of sexual assault. If the men went with their wives they were murdered but if no one went the family would starve. The level of sexual violence  against women in this conflict shocked the world
  • Some claimed the Janjaweed, supported by the Arab government in Khartoum, have used this as a weapon of war. In Darfur, the Arab militia and military make a point of abusing women in front of their families or villages, which was an effective weapon as it affects an entire community for decades.
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Darfur - Social Impacts

  • A French anthropologist called this 'destroying the future' - children who witness the crime are traumatized, men flee from their partners out of shame and women become 'damaged goods' as they can no longer have children due to the violence.Naturally some girls become pregnant
  • This is an example of how conflict can have a long term impacts on the people. The hatred that this often causes between groups can increase the possibility of future tensions in the region 
  • The war in Bosnia is another example of this
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