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UN warns of more hunger in Sudan in coming months

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United Nations aid chief, Martin Griffiths, has warned the Security Council that almost five million people in Sudan could suffer catastrophic hunger in parts of the war-torn country in the coming months.

Griffiths said acute levels of hunger were part of the impact of the conflict spanning disruptions to agricultural production, damage to major infrastructure and livelihoods, disruptions to trade flows, severe price increases, impediments to humanitarian access, and large-scale displacement.

“Without urgent humanitarian assistance and access to basic commodities … almost 5 million people could slip into catastrophic food insecurity in some parts of the country in the coming months,” Griffiths wrote.

Similarly, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday that food assistance for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees in Chad, some of whom are on the verge of starvation, may cease next month if more cash is not provided.

As security worsens and the lean season begins, some people may move into famine conditions in West and Central Darfur. Griffiths called cross-border aid delivery from Chad to Darfur a “critical lifeline.”

Griffiths estimates that nearly 730,000 Sudanese children suffer severe acute malnutrition, including over 240,000 in Darfur.

“An unprecedented surge in the treatment of severe wasting, the most lethal manifestation of malnutrition, is already being observed inaccessible areas,” Griffiths said.

War erupted in Sudan on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). More than a million people have fled to neighbouring countries since the brutal conflict in Sudan started in April 2023. Among them are about 378,000 Sudanese refugees and about 48,000 Chadians who were forced to return to eastern Chad.

The U.N. estimates that nearly 25 million people – half Sudan’s population – are in need of aid, while 8 million have fled their homes. There have been war crimes committed by the warring parties, according to the U.S.

In accordance with a 2018 Security Council resolution, the UN secretary-general reports to the 15-member body when there is a “risk of conflict-induced famine and widespread food insecurity in armed conflict.”

Since the start of the war in Sudan, Griffiths said, more than 1,000 aid access incidents have been recorded that have “adversely impacted humanitarian operations.” He said 71% were due to conflict or intentional violence against humanitarian assets or aid workers.

Musings From Abroad

Production at China’s $1 billion Tsingshan steel mill in Zimbabwe begins

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A corporate official announced on Thursday that Tsingshan Holding Group, a $1 billion steel mill in central Zimbabwe, is now producing nickel, the largest nickel producer in China.

During a factory tour, project director Wilfred Motsi informed reporters that Tsingshan’s Dinson Iron and Steel Company will produce 600,000 metric tons of carbon steel annually during the first phase of operations.

“We have started to produce pig iron, which is a raw material used for the production of steel. By July, that’s when we will start to produce the actual carbon steel,” Motsi said.
He did not say how long the first phase would last.

Tsingshan, a prominent global producer of nickel, has made noteworthy investments in Zimbabwe throughout the past few years. In addition to the steel mill, Tsingshan operates enterprises in southern Africa that mine lithium, ferrochrome, and coking coal.

In Dinson, the business has constructed a 50-megawatt thermal power plant. To meet 20% of its electricity needs, the steel plant will use the gas produced by its furnace to generate additional power.

To lessen the negative effects of Zimbabwe’s electricity shortages on its operations, the company also intends to construct a solar power facility.

The total estimated value of iron and steel imports from Zimbabwe in 2020 was $128 million. Compared to the previous year, when the products were imported to the tune of about 114 million U.S. dollars, this represented an increase in value.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia eyes more partnership with South Africa as Putin congratulates Ramaphosa

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Kremlin leader, Vladimir Putin, has congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on his reelection as president.

On the Kremlin website, a statement from Putin’s phone conversation with Ramaphosa was posted: “Hope was expressed for continued joint work on further strengthening of the partnership between Russia and South Africa in all its aspects.”

Parliament reelected Ramaphosa on Friday. However, the creation of a government composed of five parties so far was spurred by his African National Congress party’s inability to secure a majority in last month’s election—the first such loss in thirty years.

Since the invasion in 2022, Russia and Ukraine have been competing with one another for support from African countries, sending their foreign ministers on many regional tours.

Like many other African nations, South Africa has deep ties to Moscow that go back to the Soviet era, when Moscow was a major supporter of the ANC’s campaign to end apartheid and other liberation organizations.

After opposing Russia’s invasion in February 2022, South Africa has since taken a more nuanced stance, abstaining from many votes in the UN General Assembly denouncing Russian actions.

South Africa spent the weekend in the “peace summit” on Ukraine, which was hosted by Switzerland. Even though several controversial issues were left out to get broader support, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries declined to sign the final communiqué.

As the host nation for the BRICS summit in 2023, South Africa was faced with a difficult decision: even though the Russian president had an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court of Justice for allegedly deporting Ukrainian children, the country thought about inviting Putin to the event.

South Africa has maintained relations with Russia and has opened stands against Western powers in global politics in recent times.

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