Humanitarian situation in South Sudan worse than ever before

19 Dec 2016 by World Vision New Zealand
Humanitarian situation in South Sudan worse than ever before
A total of 3.6 million people in South Sudan – double last year’s figures - are currently food insecure in what should be the main harvest season. Things have never been so bad with food insecurity in both rural and urban areas. This figure is projected to grow next year to 5 million by June if the humanitarian situation does not improve. 

The northern Bahr el Ghazal region is the worst affected with one-third of people malnourished. A number of areas are also seeing rates where more than 15 percent of people are at risk of starvation if they don’t access food and nutrition.

"I have never seen it as bad as this. Previously the hungriest people lived in hard to reach rural areas or places affected by conflict. But it is spreading into formerly stable fertile areas," said Perry Mansfield, South Sudan National Director. 

"Even urban areas like the capital Juba are suffering hunger. Across South Sudan’s cities and towns more than 600,000 people are severely food insecure. This is an indicator that food is so scarce that it is not getting to market – the local food economy is breaking down."

World Vision is trying to address the crisis via eight out-patient therapeutic centres run in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF where lifesaving nutrition support is provided to children aged under 5 and to pregnant and nursing mothers. Half a million people are also receiving food thanks to a World Vision-WFP intervention. 

"However, I am deeply concerned for children who are facing a very severe hunger crisis. Not only does the country desperately need peace but we need to fund and distribute food to those most in need" said Mansfield. 

In 2017, World Vision targets to reach close to 420,000 people with food assistance and other humanitarian needs and requires about US$23 million to meet those needs

One area of hope is that where World Vision has worked with partners to strengthen community resilience, people have dealt better with the crisis. We are looking at how we can scale this up by linking emergency aid provision to these kinds of resilience interventions.

The hunger situation is being made worse by hyperinflation of 835 per cent – the worst in the world – which is pricing food out of people’s reach as well as the continual displacement of people from fighting.

Chloe Irvine, Head of External Affairs, World Vision New Zealand  |  ​+64 22 340 4271