South Sudan officially declared independence on 9 July 2011 to become the United Nations 193rd member state. The country has a total area of 644, 329 square kilometers, and is roughly the size of France or Afghanistan. It has an estimated population of 10.3 million people.
Approximately 90 percent of South Sudanese households depend on crop farming, livestock, fishing or forestry for their livelihoods, but productivity across all these sectors is minimal. It is estimated that only four percent of the arable land is cultivated. Labour and trade opportunities are often limited. Food insecurity is persistent in South Sudan, with at least 10 percent of the population experiencing severe seasonal food insecurity every year for the past five years, regardless of the performance of the agricultural season.
Fighting erupted in Juba, the capital city, in mid-December 2013 and rapidly spread to other parts of the country. Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states are the most affected by the conflict. In May 2015, results of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis, known as IPC, confirmed fears that unrelenting conflict and the onset of the lean season are intensifying alarming levels of hunger – both in conflict-affected areas and in other parts of the country. Nearly 4.6 million, or 40 percent of the population, will face acute hunger in the next three months. Most of these people are in the conflict-affected states of the Greater Upper Nile (Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei) and parts of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal (Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap).
In 2015 WFP aims to assist 3 million people in South Sudan. This includes lifesaving emergency assistance for 1.4 million people directly affected by conflict and 1.6 million people through our recovery operation.
WFP is using all means at its disposal – including airdrops, river boats, and distributions of food, cash or vouchers – to reach hungry people in conflict zones with life-saving emergency food and nutrition. WFP Is supporting vulnerable families in other parts of South Sudan with programmes to improve food security, including school meals and asset-creation initiatives.
However, South Sudan is one of the most challenging places where WFP work and shrinking humanitarian access -- and a lack of funding -- are compromising relief agencies’ ability to meet South Sudan’s escalating needs.