Flames Destroy Landmark Tower as Sudan War Enters Sixth Month 

This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)
This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)
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Flames Destroy Landmark Tower as Sudan War Enters Sixth Month 

This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)
This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)

One of Sudan's main landmarks, a skyscraper that towered over the River Nile and housed the headquarters of a major oil company, has been reduced to a smoldering wreck amid heavy fighting between rival military factions in the capital.

The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company head office, a glass-sided tower topped with a coil of metal, was built during an oil boom before South Sudan declared independence in 2011, and was one of Sudan's most costly constructions.

Flames and smoke rose from the building in a financial district of Khartoum, close to the confluence of the Blue and White Niles and to areas fought over by Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

It is unclear what caused the fire that burned through the tower from Saturday. The RSF accused the army of targeting it along with other important buildings amid efforts to dislodge paramilitary fighters from positions they occupied across the capital early in the conflict.

There was no immediate comment from the army.

The war between the army and the RSF broke out in mid-April when tensions linked to an internationally-backed plan for a political transition boiled over, four years after long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown during a popular uprising.

The conflict has caused widespread clashes, looting and shortages of food and medicine in Khartoum and other cities, driving more than 5 million people from their homes.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."