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Famine declared in South Sudan

Claire Devlin, our specialist for Tackling Violence Building Peace, recently returned from South Sudan, where famine has been declared.

In the following blog, she describes the background to the famine, along with the short-term priorities and long-term goals.

Famine was recently declared in South Sudan. It doesn’t get any worse than a famine declaration – when this happens, people are already dying of starvation. 

Currently 100,000 people are classed in South Sudan as being in ‘famine conditions’. In reality, that figure is on the brink of reaching 1 million.

Tax of Life Report

Akole his wife Achol and their two daughters, Mary and Monica in Nyamlel, in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, South Sudan. Credit: David Mudachi


South Sudan, at six years old, is the world’s youngest nation. In addition to the food crisis, its people have been living through a violent civil war. Unity State, where the famine has hit, has been the worst affected by the conflict.  Bahr el Ghazal, where I visited is also critical, but aid efforts are staving off a famine.


Our approach

Christian Aid is working with local partners in areas affected by famine conditions in East Africa.

In the short term, we are working with our partners to reach the people who are facing the worst hunger – a profound challenge given the ongoing violence. In South Sudan 28 aid workers have had to leave one of the affected areas for security reasons. Co-ordinating a humanitarian response in these circumstances is very difficult.

In the long term it is essential to continue with our peace building and violence reduction work – it’s key to maintain this longer lasting work, which ultimately will have greatest effect.


Hope is not lost

Remarkably, people in South Sudan still have hope. Having been through 50 years of conflict with Sudan, they know that peace is possible.

After the civil war broke out in 2013, the scale of the humanitarian response at that time ensured that a hunger crisis was averted. If we respond now in South Sudan, we can reduce the hunger.

A little can do a lot.

Just €68/£58 provides a month’s clean drinking water for two families.

Even with malnutrition, water-borne diseases, which could prove the last straw for people weakened by hunger, can be prevented.

The people I met in South Sudan have hope thanks to you. We will be there for them through this emergency and into the future.


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