How many dead in Darfur refugee camps?

The World Health Organization says that up to 70,000 refugees have died in Sudan's Darfur region since March 1, 2004 due to various causes, including diseases and malnutrition.

WHO spokesman David Nabarro said Saturday the figure does not take into account deaths from direct violence in the conflict-torn region.

Nabarro said the number of displaced people in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Darfur increased to 1.8 million in September. Sudan disputes the WHO figures, saying there could not have been more than 7,000 deaths in Darfur refugee camps, informs CNN.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, state minister at the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disputed the estimate.

"This report is totally wrong and not correct at all," he told The Associated Press.

He said the real number was less than 10 percent than that estimated by the U.N. health agency. He cited Sudanese government reports.

"The reports we have here speak of the situation for the last 32 weeks, and nowhere could we see what they were talking about," he said.

Several Security Council ambassadors said Danforth had discussed the suggestion with them and was receiving support for it. Asked about the proposal, Richard Gre-nell, Danforth's spokesman, would say only that "during the month of November, while we hold the presidency, we are exploring ways to highlight the Sudan issue."

The conflict in Darfur has forced 1.4 million villagers from their homes into displacement camps, and 200,000 of them have fled across the border to Chad.

The US has said the government-supported killings and mass evictions constitute genocide, and &to=http:// ' target=_blank>UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has created an international commission to compile a report in three months on whether genocide has occurred.

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