International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Darfur Crisis, 10 Years On

Darfuri women and children, refugees in Chad
Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

June 2013 - More than a decade after the start of the Darfur conflict in Sudan, over 1.4 million people still live in camps. Some 300,000 remain in camps across the border in eastern Chad, reluctant to return home because of ongoing insecurity, loss of property and fear of oppression.  These refugees remain dependent on humanitarian aid for survival — but as the world's attention gradually fades, thousands more Darfuris are fleeing new violence.   

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Darfur: A Humanitarian Disaster

  • A soldier walks past a wrecked armored vehicle on the Sudan side of the border w
  • A mother and child, Darfur refugees, outside their shelter made of blankets
  • An elderly refugee sits in her makeshift home.
  • A burning pile of dead animals
  • A woman cooks mukhet, a seed used as cattle feed.
  • Hadiya Beshir Issa holds her severely malnourished 15-month old daughter Munira
  • A Darfuri refugee holds her malnourished son outside a health facility
  • Sahara, an IRC-trained midwife (left), helped deliver Ali, seen here with his mo

In 2004, the IRC’s Peter Biro traveled to the isolated border town of Bahai – the IRC’s relief hub in Chad – and found a growing humanitarian crisis as refugees streamed across the border from Darfur. These photos chronicle that visit.

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How We Help

    • The International Rescue Committee aids 84,000 Darfuri refugees in three camps in eastern Chad and offers services to 33,000 Chadians living nearby. The IRC runs schools, health centers and water and sanitation programs in the camps.


  • Funding cuts have forced the IRC and other aid organizations to downsize. For the IRC’s part, we have had to shutter our secondary schools for Darfuri refugee youth, reduce by nearly half the number of teachers in our pre-school and primary schools and scale back community health and hygiene promotion activities.
January 1, 2014 | Blog
Best wishes for a peaceful and happy New Year from all of us at the IRC. Here's a look back at the assistance we have been able to provide in 2013 to vulnerable families around the world -- thanks to your support.

Looking Back: The IRC in Darfur

Women gather over coffee in a Darfur camp 

At special IRC women's centers in refugee camps in Darfur, women learned to read and write, and came together to sing, dance, draw or relax over a cup of coffee.

Photo: Peter Biro/IRC


During ten years of conflict in Darfur, Sudan, it is estimated that 300,000 people have died and some 2.7 million have been displaced.

Building on our support for victims of other civil conflicts in war-torn Sudan spanning nearly three decades, the IRC provided medical care, water, sanitation, education and protection for 800,000 Darfuris and 1.1 million people in North and East Sudan.

Abruptly, on March 4, 2009, the IRC and and 12 other relief organizations were expelled from the region by the Sudanese government. "Our departure left gaping holes in the essential support system for nearly two million people," says Kurt Tjossem, the IRC's regional director. "Every single one of us was heartbroken."  

Read more about the IRC's work in Darfur and how we are  continuing to help Darfuri refugees in Chad today.


Where is Darfur?

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