July 30, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum announced today the update of its Google Earth initiative, Crisis in Darfur, with U.S. Department of State data that shed new light on the extent of the genocide in Darfur.
The new data show that more than 3300 villages have been damaged or destroyed in the Darfur region of Sudan, primarily between 2003 – 2005. This is more than twice the number that were identified in previous U.S. government assessments, and strengthens the evidence of a vast, targeted campaign of destruction against civilians in the region. The updated data come from recent analysis of high resolution satellite imagery, released by the Humanitarian Information Unit of the U.S. Department of State in July 2009.
The Museum is providing, through its partnership with Google, the most detailed picture to date of the scope and nature of the destruction that occurred during the genocide in Darfur and after. That thousands of villages were destroyed has been known for some time; these data document the true enormity of the destruction.
The data also show that the level of destruction has decreased in the past few years, since the height of the Sudanese government’s systematic military campaigns against targeted ethnic groups between 2003-2005. Most of the destruction of villages occurred prior to 2006.
For the first time, the data in Google Earth also include hundreds of “before and after” satellite images of villages throughout Darfur.
“The Museum’s partnership with Google enables us to show the world the scope of the genocide as it has evolved in Darfur,” said Museum director, Sara Bloomfield. “While the evidence presented now shows a decline in the destruction of villages in the last few years, the Museum remains concerned about the millions of people still at risk in the region. We will continue to provide information about conditions on the ground to help the public and policy makers make informed decisions about how to respond appropriately,” said Bloomfield.
Crisis in Darfur, a Google Earth layer tracking the path of destruction in Darfur, was launched in April 2007. The following year the Museum launched its second Google Earth initiative, World Is Witness, which brings together testimonies, photographs, videos, and other first-hand data documenting the lives of people affected by contemporary genocide. Both of these layers can be found in Google Earth’s Global Awareness folder under the heading “USHMM,” or at the Museum’s Web site, www.ushmm.org/maps/.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, promote human dignity and prevent genocide. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by the generosity of donors nationwide. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.