Underground lake to defuse Darfur conflict?

From the ABC:

The recent discovery of a huge underground lake in Sudan could spell an end to four years of conflict in the drought-stricken region of Darfur, a US geologist says.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and some two million displaced in the conflict, sparked in part by competing claims to scarce natural resources in the western region, humanitarian organisations say.

"Access to fresh water is essential for refugee survival, it will help the peace process and provide the necessary resources for the much needed economic development in Darfur," Farouk El-Baz from Boston University said.

The discovery was reported in last month's International Journal of Remote Sensing and the Sudanese Government has since launched its "1,000 Wells For Darfur" campaign to raise sufficient funds to tap the precious resource.

Mr Baz said Egypt has already committed to sinking the first 20 wells free of charge, while the United Nations has sought help in selecting the best sites to sink the wells.

The United Nations needs water supplies for its planned 20,000-strong joint UN-African Union force, due to deploy in Sudan possibly next year.

The lake was spotted by satellite and lies more than 550 metres below sea level.

With a surface area of some 30,750 square kilometres, it is slightly larger than Belgium.

No comments: