The United States says it is deeply concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian security situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The fighting there, which pits Sudanese government forces against indigenous opposition groups, is said to have displaced nearly 700 thousand people. The State Department says it deplores the parties' lack of engagement to end the hostilities.

In a related story, the humanitarian group, Doctors Without Borders, says since the beginning of this month, 26-thousand Sudanese refugees have arrived in eastern Chad. They had fled the Darfur region. Donatella Massai is the operational coordinator for the group?s branch in Belgium. From Brussels, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the plight of the Sudanese refugees.

She says the refugees must walk two to three days to reach safety in Chad. And they must endure extreme weather conditions, very hot days and freezing nights. Ms. Massai says Doctors Without Borders has health clinics set up in the border towns of Tine and Birak.

However, the group is unable to cross the border to check on the condition of people there. The border is officially closed. Ms. Massai says they are worried about their condition because it?s assumed that the healthier refugees are the ones who made the trek to Chad.

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