Famine in South Sudan

“Cholera is a big problem in our community. We have learned to survive with the little we have. We don’t have hospitals, medicine and treated water.” Sultan, Community leader in Gondokoro Island, South Sudan.
“We have learned to survive with the little we have. We don’t have hospitals, medicine and treated water.” Sultan, Community leader in Gondokoro Island, South Sudan. Photo: Albert Gonzalez/Oxfam

South Sudan is facing one of the most violent crises in the world right now. For the past three years the world’s youngest country has been ravaged by an ongoing conflict. The humanitarian situation is dire, with parts of the country pushed into deadly famine and millions of people displaced. With your help we can provide them with vital assistance.

A human-made disaster

Following a power crisis erupted in Juba in 2013, South Sudan has spiralled into a national, political and ethnic conflict, quickly spreading across many parts of the country and leading to the death of thousands of women, children and men.

Since then, more than 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to brutal war. Of these, over 1.4 million have sought safety in neighboring countries, mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Despite a peace agreement brokered in 2015 the violence continues at an alarming rate and forces people to leave the country at around 4,000 people a day.

This is the biggest refugee crisis on the African continent.

One of the world’s worst food crises

Forced to abandon their farms and livestock, people have lost their means of feeding their families. The country has spiralled into an economic free-fall characterized by food and fuel prices which have skyrocketed and an ever-rising cost of living. Trade and local markets have been disrupted and food stock has depleted.

The food situation continues to worsen. One in three people are severely hungry and this figure is expected to increase in 2017. 100,000 people are facing starvation now and a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine in Unity State. More than one million children under the age of 5 are acutely malnourished. Waterborne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, from contaminated water are an increasing risk.

7.5 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, and half of the population is expected to be affected by extreme hunger by July.

“Food is the most important need in our community, I see that health issues are also important. That’s why our teachers encourage us to keep our hands clean”. Ladu, student, Gondoroko Island.

Addressing growing needs: Oxfam’s work

We are providing life saving aid to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict, as well as helping them to build for the future. In 2016 we reached over 600,000 with emergency and longer-term support.

We are also responding to the refugee crisis regionally in Uganda, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.

Our activities include:

  • Providing emergency food distributions
  • Supplying clean water and building safe sanitation facilities
  • Promoting good hygiene practices through participatory activities and providing essential hygiene items
  • Helping people flee violence in search of safety

We are also supporting the most vulnerable people to produce food for themselves and develop livelihoods to support their basic needs. We provide families with assets like livestock, tools, seeds and fishing gear, as well as giving training on improved farming methods. We distribute cash and vouchers to vulnerable families for use in markets where they exist.

We continue to fight cholera outbreaks that have been confirmed in 9 of 32 states countrywide, with over 4,700 active cases.We are repairing boreholes, as well as distributing soap, buckets and water treatment tablets. Public awareness campaigns on cholera prevention and treatment are also being conducted.

You can help

Every day that the conflict continues, South Sudanese people face a threat to their lives. They have been pushed to the brink, surviving on what they can find to eat in swamps. As so often in a crisis, women and children are the worst affected.

The most vulnerable people, caught in the middle of the conflict, are paying the ultimate price. We are supplying life-saving essentials but we need your help to do more.

This is a human-made tragedy, and we are running out of time to avoid it getting worse.

Please donate now

Updated 23 February 2017