Darfur faces new threat after cholera strikes war-torn region

A CHOLERA outbreak in Sudan has spread to the war-torn Darfur region, posing a serious threat to the 2.5 million people living in squalid camps, the United Nations said yesterday.

Cholera spreads rapidly in close-knit populations. An outbreak that began in late January in south Sudan has killed at least 516 people among more than 13,800 cases, affecting six of the ten southern states. "The World Health Organisation in Nyala [south Darfur] confirmed 65 cases of acute diarrhoea," the UN said.

Three years of rape, pillage and murder in Darfur has led much of the population to move to crowded urban centres away from rural villages. Scarce food supplies, a lack of healthcare and the upcoming rainy season make them more vulnerable to the water-borne disease.

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