The UN health agency said on Friday that the death toll in refugee camps in the Darfur region of Sudan had reached 70,000, and that people would continue dying at the rate of 10,000 a month as long as the international community did not provide more money. \nDavid Nabarro, director of the crisis action group of the Geneva-based World Health Organization, said despite the international attention Darfur had attracted, the UN was not receiving the money it needed to curb deaths caused by malnutrition and disease. \n"Every day in newspapers in the US, Europe and Japan, there is coverage of the suffering in Darfur, yet we don't have a significant enough popular perception around the world of the enormity of that suffering, and the United Nations cannot get the funding for this priority program," Nabarro said in a telephone interview. \nThe UN has received only half of the US$300 million it needs, he said, while with full financing it could reduce the mortality rate by half. \nAt UN headquarters, the US was discussing moving Security Council meetings on Sudan to Nairobi next month, when it will hold the rotating presidency of the council. American diplomats said the purpose would be to speed the conclusion of talks in Kenya aimed at ending a decades-long civil war in the south of Sudan. \nThe American ambassador, John Danforth, was President George w. Bush's special envoy to those talks, and the UN believes that getting a peace agreement put into effect in the south would help resolve the conflict in Darfur, in western Sudan. \nSeveral 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." \nThe 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. \nThe US has said the government-supported killings and mass evictions constitute genocide, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has created an international commission to compile a report in three months on whether genocide has occurred. \nNabarro said that because of a lack of money, relief workers in Darfur were unable to distribute aid in helicopters and had to rely on trucks, which broke down. He said the agency needed 10 charter aircraft but could only afford four. The agency has been borrowing money to meet its needs of US$1.5 million a month, he said, but could not continue doing so past mid-December. \n"We are running on a threadbare, hand-to-mouth existence, and if the plight of these people in Darfur is as important to the international community as it seems to be, then we would have expected more long-term support," he said.
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