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Famine Mortality: A Case Study of Darfur, Sudan 1984-5

Alex de Waal
Population Studies
Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 5-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2174235
Page Count: 20
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Famine Mortality: A Case Study of Darfur, Sudan 1984-5
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Abstract

A survey was undertaken in the Darfur Region of Sudan, to collect retrospective mortality data for the famine period of 1984-5. During the famine the crude death rate trebled to 40 per thousand. Most of the excess mortality consisted of a sharp seasonal rise in child deaths. Infant and adult mortality rose only to a lesser extent. Fertility was lowered. The main causes of death were diarrhoeas, measles and malaria. Health factors, such as water supply, were associated with mortality differentials, and socio-economic variables such as wealth were not. It is argued that the excess mortality can be explained by severe localised health crises which caused increased exposure to life-threatening diseases. This conflicts with the established `starvation model' of famine mortality, in which it is suggested that excess mortality occurs mainly through increased risk of death due to malnutrition.

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