Reworded: Briefing for Monday: Analyzing the overlooked crisis in Sudan.

Estimated read time 15 min read

This month, Martin Griffiths, the aid chief of the UN, remarked that the humanitarian world possesses a repulsive aspect in that there is a competition of suffering. We should not disregard Sudan.

However, while the global spotlight remains on Gaza and Ukraine, there is another crisis unfolding. A civil war erupted last year between the Sudanese army and RSF militia, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties. As a result, Sudan now has the highest number of displaced people, including a large number of children, compared to any other country.

The conflict continues without any signs of decreasing. Recently, the UN released a report that gives a comprehensive description of the indiscriminate brutality committed by both parties. With the end of harvest season approaching, there are concerns that famine could cause the deaths of up to a million individuals.

The current edition of our newsletter covers the ongoing conflict in Sudan, including the violent acts endured by innocent people and the challenges hindering the delivery of much-needed assistance. Here are the main updates.

Five big stories

  1. The Conservative party is calling on Rishi Sunak to speak out about the growing controversy surrounding Lee Anderson’s statement that Islamists have taken control of Sadiq Khan. Sunak received criticism for not using the term “Islamophobia” in his response to Anderson’s suspension. Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi criticized Prime Minister Johnson for not addressing anti-Muslim racism and bigotry.

  2. Economists have cautioned that the budget proposed by Jeremy Hunt for the upcoming election will put too much strain on already-stretched public services in Britain, potentially leading to their collapse. This predicted amount of spending reductions could match the cuts made during David Cameron’s administration from 2010 to 2015.

  3. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has disclosed a previously undisclosed number of casualties in the ongoing conflict with Russia, stating that 31,000 soldiers have lost their lives. He also declared that the coming year of 2024 will be crucial in determining the outcome of the war. However, this figure is significantly lower than the estimated US casualties of approximately 70,000.

  4. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza has led to a significant financial strain on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). With a budget of $880m, the organization is currently facing a deficit of $450m, highlighting the largest humanitarian crisis it has ever faced in its 75-year history. According to Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the organization has reached a critical point where it is unable to continue aid deliveries to northern Gaza, where famine has become increasingly prevalent.

  5. The person who owns the grand property featured in the movie Saltburn has shared that they have initiated patrols to prevent any unauthorized entry on the premises, especially for making TikTok videos of people dancing to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s popular song “Murder on the Dancefloor.” This song was notably used in the film’s closing scene, where the main character dances in front of the house. Charles Stopford Sackville mentioned that the payment received for filming played a major role in his decision to allow it, but he still finds the attention quite odd.

Exploring the Extent of Mortality and Forced Migration in Darfur

Refugee children fleeing Sudan for neighbouring Chad.View image in fullscreen

The United Nations approximates that nearly 14,000 individuals have lost their lives in Sudan since the start of the war in April last year. However, this number is likely much lower than the actual count due to the high level of danger in many areas of the country, making it difficult for observers to gather accurate information. A confidential UN report, revealed to Reuters last month, revealed that in the span of three months last year, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 casualties occurred in the city of El Geneina in West Darfur alone.

Over eight million individuals have been displaced due to ongoing conflict. Among them are five million children, with 2.1 million being under the age of five. Additionally, approximately 25 million people, equivalent to half of Sudan’s population, require humanitarian assistance. Unfortunately, there is currently no indication that the situation will improve in the near future.

“I have received reports for almost a year about the situation in Sudan, which has been marked by death, suffering, and hopelessness,” stated the UN human rights chief, Volker Türk, on Friday. “The ongoing conflict and disregard for human rights have continued with no signs of resolution.”

can be defined by warThe conflict’s beginnings can be attributed to war

In April 2023, Sudan experienced a swift collapse of its established order. According to Nesrine Malik, this was a clear indication that the turmoil in Sudan had been brewing for a significant period of time. She attributes the origins of the conflict to a rebellion by tribal minorities in Darfur 20 years prior. The response of then-president Omar al-Bashir was to enlist the help of the Arab Janjaweed militia rather than utilizing the army. This ultimately resulted in a genocide that claimed the lives of up to 300,000 individuals.

The Janjaweed eventually transformed into the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary organization. In 2019, Bashir’s 30-year rule came to an end following widespread demonstrations. In the chaotic aftermath of a military takeover, a power-sharing deal was struck between civilians and the military.

The planned transition to democracy in Sudan in 2021 was disregarded by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the army. He instead declared a state of emergency and took control with his deputy, RSF leader Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (also known as Hemedti). For 18 months, there were growing tensions between the two sides, partially due to disagreements on how the RSF should be incorporated into the regular army. This eventually led to violent clashes in the capital city of Khartoum, which then spread throughout the entire country.

Hemedti asserts that he is battling “extreme Islamic groups” and vows to reinstate a democratic system, while Burhan states willingness to transfer control to a democratically-elected government once the RSF are defeated. Despite several attempts at ceasefires, many experts believe that both leaders are ultimately aiming to seize power.


The current state of affairs in the military:

At the beginning of the conflict, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) swiftly gained authority over the majority of Khartoum, excluding army bases, as well as the cities of Bahri and Omdurman, and the western regions of Kordofan and Darfur. The army retains control over the eastern territory, with operations being conducted from the port city of Port Sudan. An informative map from Sudan War Monitor displays the areas under control as of November; however, the RSF has since expanded their influence into eastern regions and seized Wad Madani, Sudan’s second largest city, in December.

Following numerous obstacles, the military seems to have achieved a significant advancement for the first time since the war began this month. The army has also achieved progress in Khartoum and other areas. This article from Middle East Eye attributes the army’s recent triumphs to arming civilians, improved ammunition provisions, and more efficient utilization of drones for identifying artillery targets.

“Currently, the conflict appears to be showing signs of dividing. According to an article written by Alex de Waal for Chatham House, multiple other armed groups and newly formed self-defense groups are being involved. Some Arab militia aligned with the RSF are engaging in personal vendettas and seizing land, which may lead to their split once they deplete the cities they can plunder.”

Atrocities and the scale of the humanitarian crisis

A boy overlooks a refugee camp near the Chad-Sudan borderView image in fullscreen

Last week, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council accused Arab militias connected to the RSF of engaging in “textbook ethnic cleansing” in Darfur. He reported hearing tales of “sexual violence against women” and mass killings of young men. The RSF and their allies have been accused of committing heinous acts, targeting members of the Masalit ethnic group in Darfur, which bear resemblance to genocide.

In an article published in December, Hamadi Abdullah, a carpenter living in El Geneina, recounted to Fred Harter a horrifying event in which he and 30 other men were instructed to lie down on the ground and were then shot at by their commander. He describes the sound of the gunfire as “pop, pop, pop” and realized that he may not make it out alive. According to Abdullah, 17 of the group did not survive the attack.

The RSF has faced accusations of engaging in abductions, kidnappings, and forced labor, often involving sexual exploitation. The actions of the army have also been deemed unjustifiable. According to a recent report from the UN Human Rights Office, both sides have committed multiple attacks in heavily populated areas, including areas where internally displaced people seek shelter. A video shared on social media, deemed credible by the UN, showed men in army attire holding the decapitated heads of several students who were perceived to be supporters of the RSF based on their ethnicity.

According to the UN, in addition to the extensive refugee crisis, approximately 70% of healthcare facilities in areas affected by conflict are currently not operational. This is further exacerbated by an increasingly severe cholera outbreak. The conflict has also resulted in 12 million children being displaced from school, leaving the total number of out-of-school children at 19 million. Unfortunately, the UN has only been able to provide educational assistance to 87,000 of the 4.3 million children it has aimed to reach.

The food crisis is also rapidly getting worse. According to a report from Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, it is predicted that famine may result in the deaths of half a million people by June. In the worst-case scenario, which is still a possibility, one million lives could be lost.

is a major barrier to addressing the global refugee crisis.

The lack of assistance from other countries is a significant obstacle in tackling the worldwide refugee crisis.

The OCHA, which is responsible for coordinating humanitarian efforts, has asked for a donation of $2.7 billion to address the current crisis. So far, only 3.5% of that amount has been collected.

There are multiple reasons for this deficit, including the world’s attention being drawn to the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. Additionally, there is a more general issue with the availability of funds for humanitarian efforts, with only 39% of the requested amount for UN appeals being met last year, in comparison to an average of 58% between 2016 and 2022.

Although UN or NGO assistance may be available, it faces challenges in reaching the most vulnerable populations. A telecommunications blackout imposed by the RSF has hindered the distribution of essential resources, and UN representatives have expressed frustration with bureaucratic barriers to obtaining visas and transport permits. For instance, there were 70 trucks stuck in Port Sudan for two weeks before they were granted permission to proceed, despite being able to provide a month’s worth of food for 500,000 people. Burhan, the leader of the RSF, has stated that he will not allow aid to be delivered to regions under their control, and there have been reports of aid trucks being looted and warehouses emptied at the start of the conflict.

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The leaders of humanitarian organizations, such as Save The Children and the International Rescue Committee, have stated in an article for the New Humanitarian that the UN Security Council must insist on unrestricted access to provide aid and improve coordination in diplomacy to help negotiate a peace agreement with other groups, such as the African Union. They believe that the current situation reflects a lack of attention from the global community.

What else we’ve been reading

Person afloat on an inflatable raft in the oceanView image in fullscreen
  • “Imagine yourself stranded at sea with your significant other. Have you ever wondered how long the two of you could survive? In her thought-provoking article, Sophie Elmhirst delves into this question and shares a fascinating real-life story from her new book, Maurice and Maralyn. While her exploration may seem dark and negative, it ultimately leaves the reader with a strange sense of hope. (Although my own wife believes I would not survive.) – Archie”

  • After 25 years since the release of the Macpherson report and 30 years since the racially-motivated killing of Stephen Lawrence, Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother, shares her disappointment in the slow progress made within the Metropolitan police and the persistent reluctance to embrace change.

  • Nesrine Malik argues that Labour’s dilemma on whether to back a ceasefire in Gaza goes beyond a matter of ideology. It exposes their difficulty in engaging in thoughtful dialogue or considering the opinions of the general public when it comes to issues that are not directly related to their perceived chances of winning an election.

  • Lily Gladstone is the first Native American to be nominated for best actress at the Oscars, for her role in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Now she has shared a list of 42 other Indigenous artists that we should be paying attention to. Lois Beckett spoke with eight of them about their careers and changing the industries they work in. Nimo

  • For three decades, Tracy King believed her father had been killed by a murderous teenage gang. Her account for Saturday magazine of how her understanding of that catastrophe changed is a humane and heartbreaking piece of reporting – as well as a meditation on how hard it is to pin down what we really know about our own lives. Archie


Liverpool celebrate with Carabao Cup trophy.View image in fullscreen

Van Dijk’s header in the 118th minute was the lone goal in an eventful Carabao Cup final. Despite facing injuries, Liverpool’s inexperienced young players managed to defeat a wasteful Chelsea team. This loss marks the sixth consecutive final defeat for Chelsea. Manager Jürgen Klopp described the victory as the most significant trophy he has ever won.

India lost five wickets in a tight ending to the fourth test, scoring 121 runs while chasing 192 as a target to win the series against England. England’s chances of a remarkable win improved with the early dismissal of three wickets due to spin, but Shoaib Bashir’s two consecutive wickets after lunch kept India’s hopes alive. Stay updated with live coverage here.

In the game between Italy and France at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy for the Six Nations, the teams ended in a 13-13 draw. Italy was impressive and France was lackluster, but Italy still managed to avoid losing to France for the first time in 15 matches. However, they were disappointed as their fly-half, Paolo Garbisi, missed a penalty kick in the final moments of the game when the ball fell off the tee.

The front pages

Guardian front page, Monday 26 February 2024

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The lead story in today’s print edition of The Guardian is titled “Pressure mounts for Sunak to address Islamophobia controversy”. The i focuses on Baroness Warsi’s warning that the Tory party is mired in racism, while The Telegraph headlines with “Red wall voters in uproar over Anderson’s dismissal” in their coverage of the Conservative turmoil. The Daily Mail features an article on the youth labeled as “sicknote generation”, questioning whether it is their mental health issues or “snowflakery” that is causing them to shun work. The Times features a report on the potential threat of AI generated fakes to the upcoming election, while the Daily Express focuses on Labour’s alleged plan to allow 250,000 extra migrants per year. The Daily Mirror’s front page highlights the “Class war” crisis in schools and the fear of teachers going to work due to a decline in student behavior, which is being attributed to Tory cuts to support services. The Metro reports on TV presenter Kate McCann’s frightening experience of collapsing in a club after her drink was allegedly spiked by “brazen” men.

Today in Focus

Vladimir Saldo stands in a group of people

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Balance: The first part of the story of Ukraine’s corrupt governor.


In the wake of the Maidan revolution, Vladimir Saldo, a politician, lost his position in Ukraine’s parliament and his political future seemed uncertain. However, in 2022, he faced potential consequences as a suspect in a contract murder case. This all changed when Russia invaded. Tom Burgis shares details from Ukraine.

Cartoon of the day | Edith Pritchett

Edith Pritchett / the GuardianView image in fullscreen

The Upside


Some positive news to remind you that the world is not entirely negative.

The Royal Botanic Gardens At Kew

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Reworded: On a hot day during summer, one of the most enjoyable activities is strolling through a vibrant botanical garden. These gardens are not just attractive havens for uncommon plants, but a new study has revealed that they are also the most efficient type of green space for reducing temperatures in nearby city streets during heatwaves. Conducted by the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCCAR), the research showed that places like the Chelsea Physic Garden and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London (shown above), as well as Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, can lower air temperatures by an average of 5 degrees Celsius during heatwaves.

Not just limited to botanical gardens, urban parks, wetlands, green walls, street trees, and playgrounds have all been found to effectively reduce high temperatures. With the increasing impact of the climate crisis on global temperatures, the scientists conducting this study hope that their findings will help guide policy makers in developing cities.


Register on this website to receive a weekly compilation of The Upside, delivered to your inbox every Sunday.

Bored at work?

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