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South Sudan Humanitarian Crisis

A woman affected by the South Sudan humanitarian crisis looks off into the horizon. Behind her, dried flowers have been laid out across a white tarp.

CARE / Andrea Campeanu

CARE / Andrea Campeanu


More than 1.4 million South Sudanese are displaced inside the country, with more seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

About the Crisis in South Sudan

Right now, South Sudan faces the most challenging period since it gained independence a decade ago, with a converging set of crises including its highest-ever levels of food insecurity, repeated floods, armed conflict, and a renewed wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased since last year, to 8.3 million – more than 70% of the population. Despite humanitarian efforts, more than 7.2 million people – over 60% of the population – continue to be acutely food insecure. Communities in six of South Sudan’s 79 counties could face famine-like conditions.

Meanwhile, violence between armed groups is creating new waves of internally displaced people (IDP), adding to an IDP population already estimated at more than 1.6 million – not counting an additional 2.3 million who have fled South Sudan. For women and girls who are disproportionately affected by food scarcity and already subject to widespread gender-based violence, it also means facing even greater risks of abuse, exploitation, including sexual violence and early and forced marriages. Attacks on humanitarian staff, assets, and compounds have also escalated in recent weeks, directly harming those who need urgent humanitarian assistance.

Compounding these issues, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across South Sudan. Since April 2020, more than 11,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Sudan, and 120 deaths (with a case fatality rate of 1.1%) have been reported. With the rollout of the vaccination, more than 52,000 people have received vaccines to date. Displaced people, particularly in overcrowded camps, face elevated risks of contracting the virus.

Violence between armed groups is creating new waves of internally displaced people.

of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance.

of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance.

How to Help South Sudan – What CARE is Doing

CARE is prepared to extend the reach of our humanitarian response significantly. CARE South Sudan has reached a total of almost 350,000 people to date with health, nutrition, food security, gender and protection services. CARE has continued awareness raising on COVID-19, reaching more than 1,400,000 people to date. The country office is also supporting the vaccination activities in the country, specifically providing support to the government with transportation of the vaccines to the respective states where CARE is operational.

CARE has local staff in place, established partnerships, and an emergency response team, which can be deployed where needed to support scale-up. However, supplies currently on hand are inadequate and funds are needed to support immediate procurement.

CARE is currently responding to flood displacement in a number of communities and our staff stands ready to add more services and locations as resources permit.

CARE has worked in the now independent South Sudan since the 1970s, focusing on health and nutrition, food security and livelihoods, women’s economic empowerment and gender-based violence prevention and response. We focus on healthcare, working closely with local health staff to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to deliver quality healthcare. We also promote peacebuilding in order to reduce poverty, by supporting conflict-affected communities to gain better access to basic services, have a say in local development initiatives, and improve livelihoods through village savings and loan groups, vocational training and lives free from violence.

“We’ve had two consecutive years of flooding, but the difference this year is that we’re at the end of the dry season now and the water has just not receded, so huge parts of the country are still flooded. Now the rainy season is just around the corner and the rains look likely to start earlier this year, with parts of the country becoming wetter than usual,” said Rosalind Crowther, CARE South Sudan Country Director.

*Last updated August 2021