Warning that the situation in Darfur was deteriorating fast, a top United Nations humanitarian official has asked the Security Council to act immediately to deal with spiralling violence and internal displacements in the region.
The Council failure to act would lead to a "man-made catastrophe" of an "unprecedented scale" within weeks, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told a Council meeting on Tuesday.
"We could see hundreds of thousands of deaths" in the strife-torn Sudanese region if aid operations already at grave risk because of attacks against individual workers, collapse," he said.
"In Darfur all of our nightmares have become realities," he said, telling reporters later that the situation is worse than at any time since early 2004.
The humanitarian lifeline for three million people is in jeopardy and "we are at a point where even hope may escape us".
Egeland's closed-door briefing to the Council comes amid a dramatic worsening of conditions since early May, when the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed by the Sudanese Government and some of the rebel groups it has been fighting since 2003 in the vast and impoverished Darfur region alongside its border with Chad.