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Last Updated: Monday, 2 May, 2005, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Oxfam predicts Darfur long haul
Darfur refugee
Pro-government militias are still burning villages in Darfur
The humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region is set to continue until late 2006, a top UK aid agency warns.

Until then, Oxfam, one of the largest agencies working in the region, said displaced people would continue to be completely dependent on aid.

It says that with most of Darfur's population in camps, this year's harvest is likely to be very low.

More than 2m people live in camps in Darfur, driven from their homes by instability and violence.

Sprawling camps

At least 180,000 people have already died from hunger and disease, in addition to those killed in a two years of fighting between pro-government Arab militias and Darfur's rebel groups.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, says the humanitarian response to Darfur's suffering has been vast.

Some 10,000 aid workers, both Sudanese and international, are trying to meet the needs of more than 2m displaced people.

They live in sprawling camps, some with more than 100,000 residents, where all their food, water and healthcare are provided by aid agencies.

"Aid workers are doing all they can to help, but it simply isn't enough," says Paul Smith-Lomas, Oxfam's Regional Director.

"Most of the displaced people still do not feel safe enough to return home. If they miss this year's planting season, the next harvest won't be until October 2006."

Our correspondent says that despite instability and regular attacks on humanitarian workers, the immediate needs of Darfur's displaced are for the most part being met.

There is still little sign of people going home though.

The Arab Janjaweed militia are still burning villages, a clear sign that it is not safe to return.

Last week, the African Union agreed to more than double the number of its peace monitors in Darfur but they would still only be 7,700 to cover an area the size of France.

Why displacement is likely to continue in Darfur

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