South Sudan

Photo: Andrew Parsons/i-Images for Action Against Hunger, South Sudan
Photo: Andrew Parsons/i-Images for Action Against Hunger, South Sudan
11.7 million
Human Development Index
181 (out of 188 countries ranked)
Our Team
314 employees
Program Start

People Helped in 2017: 313,250

People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs 
People Reached by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs 
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs 

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: two million people have fled to neighboring countries as refugees, and 1.9 million people have been uprooted internally. 

Ongoing conflict—worsened by crop deficits, shortages of basic food staples, and inadequate rain—has 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. 45.2 percent of the country faced acute food insecurity at crisis levels or worse. A surge in assistance successfully averted famine, but the hunger emergency worsened. Acute malnutrition increased across South Sudan, reaching critical levels in several areas. Action Against Hunger conducted mid-year surveys indicating critical nutrition emergencies in Aweil East, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Fangak.

The lean season began early in 2017, increasing food insecurity and threatening the most vulnerable. Bureaucratic impediments, looting, and attacks on aid workers hindered assistance and program delivery. 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. 

Action Against Hunger first launched operations in South Sudan in 1985. We are currently meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of populations in four states: Jonglei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Central Equatoria (Juba).

What We Achieved in 2017

In the past year, Action Against Hunger reached 313,250 people across South Sudan. We have longstanding operations in Jonglei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Warrap, and our emergency teams were deployed to deliver assistance in Upper Nile, Lakes, Unity, Central, and Western Equatoria States. We also launched emergency nutrition programs in eight new sites to provide lifesaving treatment to acutely malnourished children. 

Our specialized multi-sector emergency teams were deployed multiple times in the past 12 months to support emergency assessments and deliver lifesaving assistance to communities in areas of South Sudan in urgent need but with little access to help. 

Food Security and Livelihoods:  55,669 people

  • Improved access to adequate food and income to meet the basic survival needs of the most vulnerable families
  • Delivered emergency food assistance through monthly cash transfers that allow families to purchase food at local markets 
  • Provided skills training and distributed essential tools and supplies to support the livelihoods of farmers and herders

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: 149,166 people 

  • Rehabilitated boreholes to improve community access to safe, clean drinking water
  • Built sanitary latrines in homes and public spaces 
  • Distributed hygiene kits and conducted hygiene awareness sessions to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases 

Nutrition and Health: 108,415 people 

  • Provided lifesaving treatment to acutely malnourished children under five years old as well as health services to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers
  • Educated mothers and caregivers on healthy care and feeding practices to improve nutrition among infants and young children.

Action Against Hunger’s expert nutrition assessment teams also gathered and evaluated critical data to quantify the prevalence and severity of malnutrition among populations in at-risk areas of South Sudan.

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

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