Famine declared in South Sudan

HungerSouth Sudan

The devastating reality of famine has hit parts of South Sudan affecting 100,000 people, according to its government and the UN.

This is the first time in six years that anywhere in the world has reached this level of food insecurity. In 2011 Somalia’s famine left around 260,000 dead.

Earlier this year the monitoring group FEWS NET warned of four looming famines in Yemen, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria in 2017, and South Sudan the first to declare.

As the world’s newest country, the situation is set to worsen as food stocks become depleted. More than three years of conflict combined with the continued devaluation of the South Sudanese Pound, acute malnutrition, difficulties in transporting aid, and below average harvests, have brought about this scenario.

Donald Mavunduse, Tearfund’s Head of East and Southern Africa Team, says: ‘This is a desperate situation for South Sudan to be facing and we are worried that it is only going to get worse in the coming months with famine spreading more widely. Already, 4.9m people, more than 40 per cent of the population, are in need of urgent food, clean water and nutrition assistance. Inflation has rocketed to between 800 and 900%, so buying food has become impossible for ordinary people, and there is little sign of the conflict coming to an end.’

In former Jonglei State, Tearfund is providing children and pregnant and lactating mothers with treatment for malnutrition, along with nutrition and hygiene education, whilst providing boreholes along with training in safe water use. In addition, Tearfund is providing food assistance to displaced people in the capital Juba.

Within South Sudan’s borders there are 1.89m displaced people, and a further 1.5m have crossed borders into Ethiopia and Uganda and other surrounding states. 



  • Pray for the people of South Sudan, particularly in areas facing the worst of the famine.

  • Pray for efforts to get food and supplies to those most in need.

  • Ask God for wisdom and confidence in how you could share this news among your friends, family and on social media.

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.


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