Brian

UNHCR officials have registered 478 arrivals at the Chadian border crossing near Guereda already this week and expect to register another 50 people today, agency spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told reporters in Geneva.The refugees, who join an estimated 200,000 Sudanese already living in Chad because of Janjaweed militia attacks and fighting between Government forces and rebel groups in Darfur, told officials they were only crossing over now because Khartoum had previously assured them of their safety from the Janjaweed and of access to food supplies.Ms. Pagonis said the new refugees also reported that the Janjaweed, who stand accused of deadly and brutal attacks against civilians across Darfur, had blocked people who had large herds of cattle from leaving.Most of the refugees have been arriving in small groups since early August because the Janjaweed also prevented people leaving in large groups, Ms. Pagonis said.UNHCR officials are monitoring the long and desolate Chad-Sudan border to determine whether the recent arrivals are the start of a new wave or an exception to a two-month trend of almost no new refugees in Chad.About 1.2 million people are also estimated to be living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, a remote, impoverished region in Sudan’s west.Meanwhile, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, has dispatched one of his deputies, Manuel Aranda da Silva, to Darfur to inspect IDP camps.UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters today that Mr. da Silva visited the Kalma camp in South Darfur, where humanitarian staff have resumed work after being banned from the camp for three days.In a separate development, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO) said the number of hepatitis E cases in West Darfur has risen to 1,006 from 620 in the past week, with 27 recorded deaths. read more