In July 2011, South Sudan achieved independence from the Republic of Sudan and became the world’s newest country. It has vast oil reserves, and comprises one of the richest agricultural areas in Africa, despite having struggled for more than two decades with war and extreme poverty.
Although its independence was celebrated around the world with great hope, South Sudan is desperately underdeveloped, with very little basic infrastructure for education, health systems, safe water, functioning markets, or paved roads. About 80 percent of the population live in rural areas and rely on livestock and subsistence farming to survive.
South Sudan was thrown back into a full-scale civil war in December 2013 after tensions erupted between government and opposition forces. The fragile country has become engulfed in a severe humanitarian crisis: 720,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees, and 1.69 million people have been uprooted internally.
In 2016, ongoing conflict—worsened by crop deficits, shortages of basic food staples, and inadequate rain—contributed to unprecedented levels of hunger and acute undernutrition. In February 2017, famine was officially declared in two counties in Unity State, with 100,000 at risk of starvation. Since the 21st June, 2017, due to targeted, intensive humanitarian action, famine is no longer occurring in Unity State. However, the hunger crisis has worsened in other parts of the country. Today, 6 million people—more than half of the country's population—urgently require food assistance to meet their basic survival needs, and at least 45,000 people in conflict zones are facing famine conditions.
What we are doing
- We provided 580,433 people with lifesaving humanitarian assistance.
- Our Multisectoral Emergency Team (MET) delivered direct, specialised emergency interventions to treat and prevent undernutrition in extremely vulnerable communities in conflict areas.
- Our Surveillance and Evaluation Team (SET) collected critical data to assess the nutrition status of at-risk populations.
- We put nutrition and health programmes in place for pregnant women and new mothers to help improve the nutrition and survival of 31,000 vulnerable children.
- We established partnerships with displaced families to plant vegetable gardens for food and provided cash-for-work to meet urgent food needs.
- Our teams prevented the spread of cholera by rebuilding water sources in cholera-affected areas, holding mass cholera-awareness sessions and training local partners to respond to outbreaks.
- We worked hard to ensure access to safe water and sanitation, meeting the immediate, and short-term needs of people in crisis.
- We delivered emergency supplies of clean water and built emergency latrines. We also built new latrines, pumps and wells for long-term use to provide sustainable sources of sanitation and clean water.
"This year, I interacted with and witnessed the needs of the most vulnerable communities in South Sudan. It isn’t easy to be a humanitarian worker. But to me, it is a privilege. Many people have nowhere to turn, if not to humanitarian aid. Their expectations—and the sense of responsibility we feel—are huge.” — Victor Mallelah, Action Against Hunger Emergency Nutrition Survey Program Manager, South Sudan