I am leaving today to visit Darfur's borders with the Central African Republic. On February 16th I cross back into eastern Chad. Sadly, I know I will return with more photographs of further devastation. In the meantime I am publishing these pictures from my three previous trips to the region with the continuing hope that people will see, understand and feel a moral imperative to take action to end the immeasurable suffering of the people of Darfur and eastern Chad.
This map shows the location of Darfur, in western Sudan, next to Chad. Darfur's borders with Chad and the Central African Republic are virtually nonexistent.
Because my trips to Darfur were in 2004 and 2006, I have been able to observe the impact of the conflict over time.
This village, with its fruit trees, walled compounds and thatched huts is remarkable simply because... IT EXISTS.
This is what most villages look like now. 80-90% of Darfur's villages have been burnt or bombed.
This is Mr. Joseph Omar, who returned to the still smouldering ashes of his village of Tamandjor, at great personal risk, to search for anything that might help him and his family survive.
This is Kalma Camp - population 90,000. Not a blade of grass nor a single tree and, worst of all, there is no safety. The camps themselves are continually attacked. The reported incidents of rape at Kalma Camp are 10 per day. This, in an Islamic culture, where the victims of rape are held culpable.
The World Food Program donates sorghum, which requires at least two hours of cooking on an open fire. Deforestation around an average IDP camp in 2006 was 10 miles, meaning a woman must go 20 miles for firewood. Thus firewood has become the crucial currency within the camps. On these excusions, she risks being raped, mutilated, or murdered. If the men go for firewood, they will surely be slaughtered.
This is Gerieda - population 137,000, the largest camp in Darfur.
In the last few months, 71 aid workers were evacuated from Gerieda because of attacks and rape. Only 10 aid workers remain to assist the 137,000.
Zam Zam camp.
These women have assembled to make a plea for a well.
A woman risking all to gather firewood. In the distant sky you can see an Antonov Bomber.
Torture victim, Kalma Camp.
Children of Kalma camp.
Despite the best efforts of aid agencies, there aren't enough wells, there isn't enough clean water. Cholera is spreading through the camps.