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دار فور
Location of Darfur
Capital Al-Fashir
Official languages Arabic, Fur
Demonym(s) Darfuri, Darfurian and Darfurese
• Total
493,180 km2 (190,420 sq mi)
• 2017 estimate
• Density
18.7/km2 (48.4/sq mi)
Currency Sudanese pound
Time zone UTC+2:00 (EAT)

Darfur (Arabic دار فور, meaning "home of the Fur") is region of far western Sudan.

It borders the Central African Republic, Libya, and Chad. It is divided into three federal states within Sudan: Gharb Darfur (West Darfur), Janub Darfur (South Darfur), and Shamal Darfur (North Darfur). It is currently in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis that developed from the conflict between Ganjaweed militias and rebel groups (namely the Sudan Liberation Movement and Justice and Equality Movement)

Geography and climate

Darfur map
The country of Sudan

Darfur covers an area of about 493 180 km² (196,555 miles²)—just over two-thirds the size of France and more than half the size of Kenya. It is largely an arid plateau with the Marrah Mountains (Jebel Marra), a range of volcanic peaks rising up to 3000 m (10,100 ft), in the center of the region. The region's main towns are Al Fashir, Nyala, and Geneina.

There are four main features of the physical geography. The whole eastern half of Darfur is covered with plains and low hills of sandy soils, known as goz, and sandstone hills. In many places the goz is waterless and can only be inhabited where there are water reservoirs or deep boreholes. To the north the goz is overtaken by the desert sands of the Sahara. A second feature are the wadis, seasonal watercourses ranging from small rivulets that flood only occasionally during the wet season to large wadis that flood for most of the rains and flow from western Darfur hundreds of miles west to Lake Chad. Many wadis have pans of alluvium with rich soil that are also difficult to cultivate. The west of Darfur is dominated by the third feature, basement rock, sometimes covered with a thin layer of sandy soil. Basement rock is too infertile to be farmed, but provides sporadic forest cover that can be grazed by animals. The fourth and final feature are the Marrah Mountains, that rise up to a peak at Deriba crater where there is a small area of temperate climate, high rainfall and permanent springs of water.

The rainy season is from June through September, transforming much of the region from dusty brown to green. Because much of the population of Darfur is agricultural, the rains are vital. In normal years, a crop is ready to be harvested by November. Once harvested, the dry stalks may be fed to domestic livestock. In the far northern desert, years may pass between rainfall. In the far south, annual average rainfall is 700 mm and many trees remain green year-round.

Economy and demography

Fur map
Location of the Fur people within Darfur

Darfur has an estimated population of 7.4 million people. Darfur's economy is primarily based on subsistence agriculture, producing cereals, fruit and tobacco as well as livestock in the drier north. In addition to this, Darfur also suffers from frequent droughts during the summer and heavy rainfall in the winter. This has caused many farmers to provide inadequate crops causing the deaths of thousands of people.

War in Darfur

War in Darfur was a major armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups began fighting against the government of Sudan, which they accused of oppressing Darfur's non-Arab population. The government responded to attacks by carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Darfur's non-Arabs. This resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the indictment of Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

Estimates of the number of human casualties range up to several hundred thousand dead, from either combat or starvation and disease. Mass displacements and coercive migrations forced millions into refugee camps or across the border, creating a humanitarian crisis.

A comprehensive peace agreement was signed on 31 August 2020 between the Sudanese authorities and several rebel factions to end armed hostilities.

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See also

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