About the Crisis and Civil War in South Sudan
South Sudan has been a country in turmoil since its formation. Today there are over seven million people in need. In 1983, after a decade-long pause in the Sudanese civil war between the north and south, conflict broke out again. It wasn’t until early 2005 – after more than 1.5 million people had died – that a peace agreement was signed between the two sides. The agreement led to the historic vote that created the Republic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011, making it the world’s youngest nation.
From the start, South Sudan was one of the poorest countries in the world. Most of the fledgling nation is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis fueled by years of chronic underdevelopment, conflict and natural disasters. More than 1.4 million South Sudanese are displaced inside the country, with more seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
The years-long civil war has contributed to an economic crisis and below-average harvest that continues to send food prices skyrocketing. The result has been a food crisis that has seen 9,000 people losing access to food every day. While the peace process between conflicting parties in South Sudan offers new hope in 2019 for South Sudanese women, men and children, the cumulative effects of years of conflict, violence and drought have left more than seven million people, about two-thirds of the population, in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2019 – the same number as in 2018. More than 2 million South Sudanese remain displaced in the country and as refugees in bordering countries due to conflict and food insecurity caused by a drought in the Northern Unity region. All these factors drove people off their land, leaving them with no access to food and their agricultural livelihoods.
Although the number of people in food crisis or worse (close to famine-like conditions) has been reduced from 6.1 million (59 percent of the population) to 4.4 million (43 percent of the population), an anticipated earlier than normal start of the lean season will result in an expected 6.4-6.8 million (more than 60 percent of the population) people in crisis, or worse – acute food insecurity, by July 2019.
In addition to the humanitarian crisis and food insecurity, outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, and measles are common, as well as poor infant feeding practices. The priority needs for the people of South Sudan are food assistance for more than half the population, and medical services, especially for children suffering from malaria and malnutrition. The top priority for displaced people is protection from sexual and physical violence, including the need for safe spaces for children, women and vulnerable people, and psychosocial counseling for trauma, among other needs. Women and girls are often the most vulnerable to threats of sexual violence, especially that resulting from conflicts.