Hunger crisis in South Sudan

Ruth, recently arrived in Akobo after conflict came to her town, is one of the 10,000 internally displaced people to receive food from an Oxfam distribution. Photo: Tim Bierley/Oxfam

Ruth, recently arrived in Akobo after conflict came to her town, is one of the 10,000 internally displaced people to receive food from an Oxfam distribution. Photo: Tim Bierley/Oxfam

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

“I have seen a lot in the past seven years in South Sudan, and things are getting worse. Our major concern now is gaining access to locations where people need our help. In some areas, we even have to swim to reach them.”

Kenyi Alison, Oxfam Emergency response officer

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.

Over 4 million people – 1 in 3 – have been forced to flee their homes due to this brutal war. Nearly 2.5 million have fled to neighbouring countries. There are now 1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, making up about half of the country’s total refugee population.

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

One of the world’s worst food crises

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.

As people are forced from their homes, 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.

Harvests in late 2017 were poor or non-existent for many, this is an extremely worrying sign for the long dry months ahead. Over 7.1 million people – half the country’s population - are facing extreme and deadly 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. We’re supporting over 500,000 people with emergency and longer-term support and are also responding to the refugee crisis regionally in Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Our activities include:

  • Providing regular emergency food distributions, as well as clean water, safe sanitation facilities, essential hygiene items and promoting good hygiene practices to help keep diseases like cholera at bay.
  • Providing vouchers for canoes so people sheltering from conflict on islands in the swamps can get to the help they need on the mainland.
  • 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.

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.