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Darfur Timeline
(31 August 2004)
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Sudan's western state of Darfur has been torn apart by a conflict which began in March 2003. Here is a timeline of important events in Darfur's history.

A History of Conflict

pre 1980
Intermittent small scale conflict between farmers and nomads. Farmer's crops would often be destroyed by camels and cattle belonging to nomads migrating south in search of water and grazing land. Traditional leaders on both sides would normally resolve disagreements.

1984
Severe drought strikes the region, increasing competition over dwindling resources.

late 1980's
Automatic weapons become easily available in Darfur after civil war in neighbouring Chad, and conflicts become bloodier.

Turmoil in Darfur

February 2003
Emergence of SLA and JEM rebel movements in Darfur, who begin to campaign against the marginalisation of the region.


A displaced man and his orphaned niece in a Darfur camp

March - April 2003
SLA launch surprise attacks on towns in northern Darfur.

April 2003
Refugees begin arriving in eastern Chad to escape the conflict. Large numbers of civilians flee their homes.

September 2003
The SLA and the Government reach a fragile ceasefire agreement hosted in Chad.

October 2003
Refugee numbers in Chad reach 70,000. UN agencies estimate at least 500,000 people in Darfur need humanitarian aid.

December 2003
Ceasefire agreement completely breaks down.

January 2004
Army moves to quell rebel uprising in western Darfur; more than 100,000 people seek refuge in neighbouring Chad.

Humanitarian Response

February 2004
IR staff begin preparations for emergency intervention as nearly 41,000 people have by now fled their homes for camps in Darfur, in addition to the 100,000 refugees in Chad.

March 2004
Number of people living in camps increases dramatically. IR provides building materials for 350 families, and distributes food and 1,400 blankets.

8 April 2004
Khartoum and the rebel groups sign a humanitarian ceasefire agreement.


May 2004
Senior UN officials describe the Darfur situation as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The number of displaced is now estimated to be more than one million with another 120,000 refugees in Chad.
IR distributes shelter kits, blankets, sleeping mats and household utensils to 921 families, and food to 18,000.

June 2004
The rainy season begins, hampering the delivery of humanitarian relief. IR takes over the management of the Al-Riyadh camp

July 2004
IR registers residents of Al-Riyadh camp to ensure each family has food tokens, and receives shelter materials, blankets, water containers and soap for distribution to camp residents.

Keringding II

August 2004
IR opens a new camp, Kerinding II, to house families that had taken up residence in local schools. Islamic Relief distributes aid to over 8,000 residents of Al-Riyadh camp.
Adeel Jafferi visits Darfur to take photographs and write a diary of his experiences.

September 2004
Islamic Relief relocates 3000 people from the Mustaqbal, Zahara and Thoura schools to Keringding II.

October 2004
Islamic Relief's Primary Health Care Clinic is opened in Kerinding II to families living in the camp.
Masakhane school opens its doors to 800 children. The school, consisting of 16 classrooms made with traditional shelters and tents, is staffed by more than 20 teachers.

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