Nyanua Tut, 8, in her home in the Protection of Civilian site for displaced people in Juba, South Sudan, August 10, 2016. ©NRC/Adriane Ohanesian
Read caption Nyanua Tut, 8, in her home in the Protection of Civilian site for displaced people in Juba, South Sudan, August 10, 2016. Photo: Adriane Ohanesian/NRC

Famine strikes South Sudan

Published 22. Feb 2017
The Norwegian Refugee Council is deeply saddened by the announcement of a famine in South Sudan on 20 February. NRC will work to support families most at risk, especially in Leer and Mayendit counties where famine has been declared.

If the international community does not act swiftly to reverse the situation, 5.5 million people across the country could face unprecedented food insecurity by as early as July. NRC supports the calls for sustained funding and a collective response to address famine and extreme food insecurity.

“NRC staff will work tirelessly within these communities as they face their largest challenge yet, to overcome extreme hunger and starvation. However, aid organisations cannot do this alone,” warned Rehana Zawar, NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan.

“Staff safety and access has been a significant obstacle to supporting long-term food security. The communities we work with in these areas are exhausted by conflict and displacement, and unable to access services. We call on all relevant national actors and the international community to support efforts to end violence, and bring real and tangible change for the people in South Sudan,” said Zawar.

An NRC mobile response team is currently distributing food alongside the UN’s World Food Programme in Koch County. Other operations for families across the country continue, including programmes for food security, education, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Read more about our work in South Sudan here.

Facts on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan
  • 100,000 people in South Sudan face starvation there and a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine.
  • Close to 5 million people – more than 40 per cent of South Sudan's population – are in urgent need of food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.
  • Over one million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country. Over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished.
  • Almost 2 million people are internally displaced by the conflict.
  • Another 1.5 million people have fled to neighbouring countries.