South Sudan

Updated June 2020

Conflict + displacement + hunger: year after year of humanitarian crisis

After years of conflict, and despite the efforts of humanitarian organisations like CARE, the humanitarian crisis continues to intensify. The global coronavirus pandemic risks bringing further chaos to the country.

  • 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the cumulative effects of years of prolonged conflict, chronic vulnerabilities and weak provision of essential services
  • Nearly 4 million people remain displaced: 1.5 million internally and 2.2 million as refugees in neighboring countries
  • The country is experiencing unprecedented severe food insecurity with 6.4 million people considered food insecure, and with malnutrition rates of 16 per cent – surpassing the global emergency threshold
  • Protection concerns remain significant, with affected populations expressing fear over persistent insecurity, protection threats, human rights violations and gender-based violence.

Mercy Laker, Assistant Country Director for CARE South Sudan, says:

CARE is concerned with the growing threat of sexual and physical abuse for women and girls as 87 percent of food from distribution points is collected by women. What is more worrisome is the fact that women head 43 percent of the households in the country. This means they have to battle aggressions including rape while undertaking daily survival tasks such as collecting firewood for sale or picking wild plants to feed their families.

Watch this video of Nyamuch, a mother in South Sudan, telling the heartbreaking story of how mothers like her struggle to find enough food for their children - and see how CARE is responding through our mobile health clinics which provide emergency nutrition to mothers and babies:

The crisis in brief

  • Over the past year, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has deepened and spread, affecting people in areas previously considered stable and exhausting the coping capacity of those already impacted.
  • 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection across the country as a result of armed conflict, inter-communal violence, economic crisis, disease outbreaks and climatic shocks.
  • Acute malnutrition remains a major public health emergency. One third of children under the age of five are malnourished and 1 out of 4 pregnant or lactating mothers are malnourished. Over 1 million children are at risk of malnutrition. 
  • 4 million people have been displaced with 2 million fleeing to neighbouring countries. 85 per cent of the displaced are women and children.

What we are doing

Since 2014, CARE has supported over half a million displaced South Sudanese in country, refugees in neighbouring countries, and vulnerable host community members, with emergency nutrition, livelihoods, health, peacebuilding and protection support.

In the six months from July 2019 - January 2020, CARE South Sudan reached 528,000 people through cash, food and nutrition, livelihood recovery, health, gender-based violence and sexual reproductive and maternal health services.

We continue to provide emergency life-saving health, nutrition and protection interventions to severely affected people in Jonglei, Unity, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria, Central Equatoria (Juba) and Eastern Equatoria State.

Our response

CARE is implementing emergency response programs in Unity, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile regions - the most conflict-affected and hardest-to-reach areas of South Sudan. We are helping people with:

  • food security and livelihood support
  • nutrition treatment for children with acute malnutrition
  • mobile clinic services
  • curative health services
  • gender-based violence awareness messaging and psychosocial support for affected people
  • conflict mitigation and resolution through peace committees.

While much of the humanitarian response has been centred around Protection of Civilian sites, currently housing around 100,000 people, the majority of South Sudanese affected by the conflict live in areas cut off by fighting, seasonal flooding or poor infrastructure. In Unity state, CARE teams travel on foot to vaccinate children against polio and measles, and deliver life saving drugs and nutrition supplies. In Jonglei, CARE provides assistance in communities hosting other South Sudanese people who have fled from fighting. 

CARE is also supporting South Sudanese refugees in Sudan and Uganda, including providing assistance to refugees from South Sudan in Rhino camp.