South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and is the world’s newest independent nation. The country is located in East-Central Africa, bordering Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Its capital is Juba. South Sudan covers a land area of 644,329 square kilometers. As of 2022, the country had an estimated population of around 11.5 million people.
The humanitarian situation
South Sudan is in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis driven by years of brutal civil war. Nearly 400,000 South Sudanese died as a result of the conflict that began in December 2013. Atrocities and attacks on civilians, including widespread sexual violence, defined the civil war. More than half of South Sudan’s population are facing extreme hunger and are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Extensive flooding, violence and disease outbreak continue to impact people across the country.
With 4.5 million people forcibly displaced, South Sudan has the highest proportion - 40 percent - of its population displaced of any country in Africa. More than 2.3 million people have fled to neighboring countries. Most of them are now in Uganda which hosts 1 million South Sudanese refugees. 2,2 million people are internally displaced. 700,000 people were fresh displaced in 2021. Continued insecurity across Upper Nile State is still forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.
South Sudan is facing a major hunger crisis. Between October and November 2022 some 6.6 million people - 57% of the country’s population - were experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity. Of those, 2.2 million people were experiencing emergency conditions and some 61,000 women, men and children were facing famine. An estimated 1.4 million children under five are estimated acutely malnourished, including some 346,000 children under five years that are severely acute malnourished and in need of urgent medical care.
Torrential rains and subsequent flooding across South Sudan in 2022 adversely affected more than 1 million people. The floods displaced tens of thousands, resulted in an unknown number of deaths, and damaged or destroyed agricultural land, houses, health care centers, schools, and water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure across the country.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 8.9 million people - three quarters of the population - were in need of humanitarian aid or protection in 2022. The UN estimates that 9.4 million people require humanitarian assistance in 2023, an increase of half a million people compared to 2022. Among those in need are 4.7 million children.
The security situation
South Sudan has not held a presidential election since independence in 2011. After a power crisis erupted in 2013, South Sudan descended into conflict that has spread across much of the country, killing hundreds of thousands of people. A series of broken peace agreements and putative coalition governments have perpetuated competition between rival militias and a war economy that continues to fuel instability and violence.
An initial peace agreement signed in 2015 failed. After many delays, a revitalized agreement signed in 2018 led to the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity in February 2020. Progress in implementing the peace agreement has been slow, however, as the parties quarrel over the division of power. Elections have been postponed and the transition period was extended until February 2025.
South Sudan continues to be the most violent context for aid workers in the world. According to the Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD), nineteen humanitarian workers were killed in the country in 2022. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says ongoing insecurity and violence against civilians and humanitarian workers affects the delivery of life-saving emergency supplies to people in an already dire situation. The work of humanitarian organizations is further hampered by access restrictions, bureaucratic obstacles, widespread crime, and inter-community violence.
According to United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the number of civilians affected by violence in South Sudan increased sharply at the end of 2022, compared to both the previous quarter and the same period in 2021. Violence from October to December 2022 was concentrated in Upper Nile, Warrap and Jonglei. The number of civilians harmed increased by 87 per cent, compared to the same period in 2021. UNMISS reports this rise was accompanied by a disturbing increase in abductions and conflict-related sexual violence — which have gone up by 464 per cent and 360 per cent respectively, when compared to the previous year. However, the overall number of incidents of violence for the entire 2022 decreased when compared to 2021.
Your donation for the South Sudan emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: South Sudan Crisis
- World Food Programme: South Sudan emergency
- UNHCR: South Sudan emergency
- Oxfam International: Hunger crisis in South Sudan
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): South Sudan
- You can find more organizations to donate to in: DONARE: Humanitarian Crisis Relief , DONARE: Refugees and IDPS , DONARE: Children in Need and DONARE: Hunger and Food Insecurity.
- UN OCHA: South Sudan
- ACAPS: South Sudan
- Concern Worldwide: The South Sudan crisis explained
- European Commission: European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations: South Sudan
- Global Conflict Tracker: Civil War in South Sudan
- International Crisis Group (ICG): South Sudan
- United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)