17 July 2015
More than half of South Sudan, some 6.5 million people, needs humanitarian assistance, the UN estimates.
The country is now entering the season when food is scarce, and approximately 4.6 million people will face severe shortages.
As well as this, the economy is in rapid decline and inflation is causing food prices to soar. With the cost of living dramatically rising, the outlook for the next few months is extremely concerning.
Serious, wide-ranging issues
More than two million people have been displaced, and over half a million are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
In half of the country, one third of children suffer from acute malnutrition, and for 250,000 of them, it is severe.
There is a shortage of basic drugs and medical supplies, and the conflict has also severely disrupted education.
There have been reports indicating that serious human rights and humanitarian violations have taken place, including the abduction of women and children, extrajudicial killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, the recruitment of child soldiers and the looting and destruction of property.
The widespread nature of the violence is a grave concern. The UN has named South Sudan as the worst place in the world to be a woman.
Origins of the conflict
In December 2013, fighting erupted in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and quickly spread to the Greater Upper Nile region. Though the conflict has its roots in political struggle, it has aggravated ethnic divisions and violent clashes have continued.
Countries in the region were quick to convene peace talks, resulting in the signing of a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in January 2014.
Despite months of talks, the agreement has been consistently violated, and the political process has failed, so far, to bring an end to the conflict.
In 2014, the humanitarian situation deteriorated dramatically. A famine was averted due to humanitarian assistance, but the food security situation continues to worsen.
The recent intensification of the conflict and the disintegrating economic situation have had severe implications for the lives of people in South Sudan.
What we’re doing to help
We have worked in Sudan and South Sudan for many years. Since the crisis began, we have been working through local partners to respond to humanitarian needs, including:
- Providing access to safe water for drinking, cooking and washing.
- Raising awareness of public health risks and promoting ways to enable people to protect themselves from disease.
- Construction of toilet facilities.
- Cash transfers and vouchers to meet immediate food and other needs which can be bought from local markets.
- Provision of household and shelter support items to ensure their health, dignity, safety and wellbeing.
We are also continuing to help communities recover their livelihoods. For example, households have been given agricultural tools and seeds to allow them to grow crops according to the seasons.
The communities we have supported are now running their own microfinance projects, enabling them to able to diversify their incomes and start small businesses.
We are also supporting the church in its historic and important role in speaking truth to power and preaching messages of peace and accountability.
What you can do
If you would like to help us continue this work, please consider giving to our emergencies fund.