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More Than a Million Displaced in Africa

New York, Oct 26 2009 3:10PM

The total number of people forced from their homes in the past six months by persistent violent conflict in Central and Eastern Africa has topped 1 million, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (<"http://ochaonline.un.org/">) reported today.

According to the data compiled by OCHA’s regional office, the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the region has now passed the 10 million mark.

Sudan heads the list of 10 out of the region’s 18 countries that contain large numbers of IDPs, with 4 million of its population displaced, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with at least 2 million and Somalia with 1.55 million.

Statistics in OCHA’s latest Displaced Populations Report showed that there has also been an increase of over 5,000 refugees moving across borders since March, bringing the total number of refugees to more than 1,875,000 in 16 countries across the region.

Chad, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania continue to shelter the highest number of refugees in the region, with each country hosting at least 250,000 people.

The report noted that the combined IDP and refugee population in the Eastern and Central African stands at 11,930,704 as of the end of September, pointing to the escalation of violence in Somalia as a major cause of the increase, particularly in refugees fleeing to Kenya.

An estimated 250,000 people were displaced in May alone from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, by fighting between forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and various militias.

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In addition, OCHA said that repeated attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on civilians in eastern DRC and the Central African Republic (CAR) has contributed to refugees pouring into the Sudan, as well as massive internal displacement within Southern Sudan.

Sudan has also experienced intermittent clashes in the south and in Darfur, ahead of the planned elections under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and referendum on the future status of the south.


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