Poor harvests, rising food prices, and conflict are among the many factors contributing to a food crisis in South Sudan's first year as an independent country. Copyright: WFP/Ahnna Gudmunds
One year after its birth, the new nation of South Sudan is facing challenges on every side. But none is more pressing than its hunger crisis, which currently affects some 4.7 million people – around half of the population.
ROME--Poor harvests, soaring food and fuel prices, conflict and displacement have combined to push levels of hunger and malnutrition in South Sudan even higher than they were when the country was born on 9 July 2011. Read the news release
It’s a frustrating situation for all concerned because South Sudan could lead the region in food production. It has vast amounts of fertile land waiting to be developed and farmed.
But it's not just about supporting small farmers. Resolving the hunger crisis also depends on resolving the conflict along the Sudan/South Sudan border. The tension and sporadic fighting continues to produce a flow of refugees and displaced families, who put further strain on an already overstretched food supply system.
Meanwhile, thousands of people are still returning to South Sudan to start a new life, after spending years, or whole lifetimes in Sudan. They too add to the strain on the system.
How we're helping
In recent months WFP has expanded its assistance throughout the country, and put in place food stocks in areas that are now inaccessible because of the rains which make many roads unusable in May and June. We aim to reach 2.9 million people over the course of the year, prioritizing the most vulnerable.
While saving lives in the short-term, WFP has an eye squarely on community-based activities that will help to ensure that over time the vicious cycle of hunger and violence can be broken once and for all.
That work includes connecting smallholder farmers to markets through the Purchase for Progress programme, deploying anti-hunger safety net programmes like school meals, and providing specialized nutritional support for young children and mothers. WFP has also committed to build 500 km of feeder roads to link farming areas with commercial centres.
Who we are helping?
- Refugees (fleeing fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states or from fighting in the disputed region of Abyei)
- Displaced people (affected by inter-communal violence in Jonglei state, for example)
- Returnees – who have come back home to South Sudan from Sudan or elsewhere. Many more are expected to return this year.
- Children under 5, pregnant women and nursing mothers who are suffering from or vulnerable to malnutrition.
- Vulnerable and severely food-insecure families especially in rural areas.