South Sudan

Updated March 2021

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 is bringing further chaos to the country.

  • South Sudan is currently facing its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since independence 10 years ago.

The lean season from May to July 2021 is expected to be the most severe on record. This means that life for the average citizen in South Sudan is currently the worst it has ever been since the nation’s founding almost 10 years ago. Over 60% of the population are projected to face crisis or worse levels of food insecurity.

  • The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is reaching devastating new levels, with over 8.3 million – 70% of the population – now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian needs across the country have significantly worsened due to a combination of flooding, protracted violence, economic decline and some of the worst food insecurity in recent years.

  • Women, girls, children and the most vulnerable people are the most affected.

For women and girls who are disproportionately affected by food scarcity and already subject to widespread gender-based violence, the worsening situation also means facing even greater risks of abuse, exploitation, including sexual violence and early and forced marriages.

We need to continue, and in many areas, scale up gender responsive humanitarian interventions so as to save lives and livelihoods and prevent the further spread of hunger and associated protection risks for women, girls and children.

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.