ME and Ophelia

Thursday, August 19, 2004

"We simply don't know" says Dr Eric Reeves

This follows on from the previous post here below.

What is the population of Darfur in Sudan? "We simply don't know", writes Professor Eric Reeves in an email reply to me, received this morning.

Yesterday I emailed Prof Reeves eight sets of conflicting population figures on Darfur that I'd collated from various websites - including the UN, Darfur Information Center and government of Sudan - and asked which were the most accurate that I could use as a basis for my postings here. There are so many varying reports on the numbers of refugees, I wonder how many people the UN's World Food Programme knows to cater for. By getting the figures, it might help explain WFP shortfalls and failures to meet the needs of the refugees. Yesterday, over at my other blog, I logged a report of a WFP failure to deliver all of the babyfood that is needed: WFP delivered less than one third of that required by the children of Darfur.

Prof Reeves says USAID use the figure of 6.5 million, that he knows many of the people there working on Darfur who by and large are very good. For this reason, he uses the same figure, but knows that it is probably somewhere between 6 and 7 million - and quite possibly lower. He says there are a host of complicating demographic factors and a lack of detailed knowledge and that there is no reliable census number.

I've noticed too in the recent UN Investigator's report, the Darfur population figure of "approximately 6.5 million" was used.

In the absence of certainty, Prof Reeves suggests I use a single figure (6 million, 6.5 million, or 6-7 million) and stick with it, explaining as necessary.

So, I've decided to use the figure of 6.5 million - and stick to it - as it will help me to become familiar with figures from the UN, USAID and Prof Reeves' writings. He kindly offered to put me on his email list, so as and when I receive copy of his latest reports, I shall share them here.

Eric Reeves is an English Professor at Smith College, Northamptom, Mass., and a recognised expert on Sudan and Darfur. He has provided testimony to Congressional Committees, been widely published in the US and International Press, and frequently provides expert analysis for Non-Governmental Organisations addressing the crisis in Sudan.

For a full biography/bibliography of his work on Sudan and Darfur, click here.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/19/2004
Comments: Post a Comment
0 comments Newer›  ‹Older