South Sudan faces unprecedented humanitarian crisis

July 9, 2015
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Instead of celebrating its 4th anniversary, South Sudan is standing on an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. In the world’s youngest country almost 8 million people – two-thirds of the total population – are food insecure and as many as 3.8m going hungry. More than 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting, and thousands of people cannot get the help they urgently need. Without a political solution to achieve peace, the situation in South Sudan will worsen.  

“As Canadians we celebrated our 148th anniversary last week with fireworks and impassioned words – unabashedly flag waving and singing the praises of the great country we’ve become,” said Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Director, Ann Witteveen. “There is anything but jubilation for South Sudan’s 4th anniversary today as civil war has forced millions to flee their homes. “

The situation in South Sudan since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013 remains one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises. The great hopes that South Sudan had when it gained independence as the world’s newest nation in 2011 have evaporated.

"The road to nationhood and democracy wasn’t smooth for us either but no human beings deserve to face the violence and hunger that the women and children of South Sudan are enduring,” added Witteveen.

More than 1.5 million people have been internally displaced and over half a million have taken refuge in Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, putting additional resource constraints on these countries and destabilizing the whole region.

In their flight, people are seeking food, water and shelter, as well as a safe place to live – women and children are greatly at risk of violence, including sexual violence. Delivering humanitarian aid however, is extremely challenging. Hostilities and attacks against humanitarian workers seriously constrain access to those in need, and coming rains will make it even harder for them to get life-saving assistance.

“Our common humanity demands we stand in solidarity with South Sudan no only by providing aid, but also supporting any and all diplomatic efforts towards peace,” said Witteveen.


For more information, or interview requests:
Melanie Gallant
Media Relations Officer
or c) 613-858-2658

Notes to Editors:

  • Approximately two-thirds of the population is now food insecure:  some 7.8 million people are in Phases 2, 3 and 4 of food insecurity.
  • 3.8 million people are currently severely hungry, expected to increase to 4.6 million (40% of the total population) by the end of July, a number bigger than ever projected.
  • 800,000 people are in emergency levels of hunger, facing extreme and dangerous food shortages. The analysis was undertaken before the recent escalation of the war, so it is expected that for thousands of people in South Sudan, the outlook is now even worse.
  • Malnutrition levels have skyrocketed with children under the age of five years, pregnant and lactating mothers being the most affected, susceptible to disease and even death.  80% of counties in Greater Upper Nile, Warrap, and Northern Bahr El Ghazal states are at a critical level of malnutrition.
  • The number of severely hungry people is expected to reduce to 2.8 million by September after the first main harvest of the season.
  • Most people are receiving some form of humanitarian food assistance. –
  • The traditional ‘lean season’ – a time when people rely on stocks – began two months early in some of the worst-off areas.
  • A report released by FAO and WFP showed an encouraging 17 percent increase in net cereal production in 2014. Gains in less conflict-affected areas must be protected.
  • Funding for longer term development programs in less conflict-affected parts of the country needs to be maintained to build resilience and protect improvements that have been made there.

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