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Darfur forum to seek $1.4 billion in water aid: UN

by Staff Writers
Khartoum (AFP) May 12, 2011
A conference next month to promote water development in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region will appeal for 1.43 billion dollars in aid from international donors, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Water scarcity, compounded by a fast-growing population, is one of the major sources of conflict in the arid western region, with many Darfuris having to travel long distances to reach their nearest water point.

"The conference intends to draw more than 200 participants including experts on water resources development and to appeal for funding for 56 projects valued at 1.43 billion dollars (one billion euros)," the UN-African Union peacekeeping force UNAMID said.

"The conference is to build on the idea that a sustainable water sector is essential for a sustainable peace," it added.

The international conference is to be held in Khartoum on June 27-28, and co-sponsored by Sudan's ministry of irrigation and water resources, UNAMID and various UN agencies.

A one-day conference held in Cairo last year raised 850 million dollars for the reconstruction of Darfur, far short of the two billion dollars that the organisers had been hoping for.

Several Western countries refrained from making pledges citing security concerns.

At least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 1.8 million people fled their homes since the region's conflict broke out in 2003 between ethnic minority rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime, according to UN figures.

Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.

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