Hunger crisis in South Sudan

Nyaliah came from Nyandong Payam for the World Food Programme distribution registration in Nyal, Panyijar county, where emergency hunger levels were declared in January 2017. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach/Oxfam
Nyaliah came from Nyandong Payam for the World Food Programme distribution registration in Nyal, Panyijar county, where emergency hunger levels were declared in January 2017. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach/Oxfam

South Sudan is in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis driven by three years of  brutal civil war. Nearly half of the population are facing extreme hunger and are in need of urgent aid. Help us provide food, water and sanitation now.

A disaster caused by conflict

Following a power crisis which erupted in 2013, South Sudan has spiraled into a conflict, which has spread across most parts of the country and leading to the death of tens of thousands of people.

Almost 4 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to this brutal war. There are now 1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, most of them fleeing since last July. On top of this there are nearly 1 million refugees in Ethiopia, Sudan, DRC and CAR.

Most refugees are women and children. This is the biggest refugee crisis in African.

One of the world’s worst food crises

When people flee, they lose their possessions, crops and income, and often get stranded in places where there aren’t enough facilities to support tens of thousands of new arrivals.

The conflict has pushed the country into an economic free-fall with food and fuel prices skyrocketing and an ever-rising cost of living. Trade and local markets have been disrupted and food stock has depleted.

In February 2017, famine was declared in Leer and Mayendit, two counties of former Unity State, affecting 100,000 people, with 1 million more on the brink. Thanks to the generosity of the public and governments, Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies have helped to stop the spread of famine. For now.

This year’s harvests will be poor or non-existent for many, this is an extremely worrying sign for the long dry months ahead. 4.8 million people - nearly half of the population - are facing extreme hunger. While the war continues the situation can only get worse.

Oxfam canoes transporting vulnerable people in South Sudan.Oxfam canoes transporting vulnerable people who could not make it by themselves to the mainland for the WFP food registration. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach/Oxfam

Oxfam’s response

We are on the ground racing to get food, water and hygiene items to the most vulnerable people, including thousands who have fled to remote islands in the middle of huge swamps. In 2017 we have reached over 500,000 people with emergency and longer-term support.

We are also responding to the refugee crisis regionally in Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia

Our activities include:

  • Providing regular emergency food distributions to over 415,000 people.
  • Providing vouchers for canoes so people sheltering from conflict on islands in the swamps can get to the help they need.
  • Supporting people to produce food for themselves and make a living. We provide families with assets like livestock, tools, seeds and fishing gear, as well as giving training on improved farming methods.
  • Distributing cash and vouchers to families for use in markets where they’re functioning and we’re also supporting traders to build better links between communities.

We continue to fight cholera outbreaks and other water-borne diseases. We are repairing boreholes and constructing latrines, as well as distributing soap, buckets and water treatment tablets. We are also organizing public awareness campaigns on cholera prevention and treatment.

You can help

Every day that the conflict continues, South Sudanese people face a threat to their lives.

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