Emergency operations

The World Food Programme’s (WFP) South Sudan response helps people affected by the conflict, by delivering life-saving food assistance and food-for-assets activities. More information can be found on the South Sudan emergency page.

More on South Sudan

South Sudan spreads over 644,000 km square at the meeting point between the Horn of Africa and the centre of the continent. Independent since 2011, the world’s newest country is also one of its least developed. There are no precise population figures: the latest census, conducted in 2008, is not considered an accurate reflection of current demographics. In 2014, The World Bank estimated there were 11.91 million South Sudanese, four in ten of them aged 14 or younger.

South Sudan is overwhelmingly rural, with petroleum the only export industry. Nine in 10 households depend on crop farming, livestock, fishing or forestry. But productivity across these sectors is minimal; food insecurity is persistent, and exacerbated by conflict and economic crisis. The country remains one WFP's toughest working environments. Shrinking humanitarian access and a lack of funding are challenging efforts to meet escalating needs.  

Current issues in South Sudan

Fighting erupted in December 2013 and spread rapidly from the capital city of Juba. A peace deal signed in August 2015 has yet to be implemented in full. The conflict has uprooted more than 2.3 million people; nearly 1.7 million have been displaced internally, with neighbouring countries hosting some 650,000 refugees.

Plunging oil prices and revenues have increased poverty and vulnerability, particularly in South Sudan’s towns. Pockets of low rainfall have reduced agricultural yields and caused crops to fail in places. This, coupled with a strained economic situation overall, has kept food prices high and further weakened food security.


What the World Food Programme is doing in South Sudan

In 2016, WFP aims to assist more than 3 million people in South Sudan. This includes lifesaving emergency assistance for 1.6 million people directly affected by conflict, and non-emergency food assistance for a further 1.6 million people through our recovery operation.

In conflict zones, WFP is using all means at its disposal – airdrops, river boats and distribution of food, cash or vouchers. Elsewhere in South Sudan, WFP is supporting vulnerable families with programmes to improve food security, including school meals and asset-creation initiatives. In relatively stable areas, with safe access and existing food stocks,  the emphasis is on resilience-building activities: food for assets, cash for assets, Purchase for Progress, and food for education (school meals and girls’ take-home rations).

WFP’s aviation team manages three complementary air operations, serving the entire humanitarian community:

  • the UNHAS common passenger service;
  • cargo aircraft to move WFP food and nutrition supplies, with a daily carrying capacity of 300 to 400 metric tons; and
  • more cargo aircraft to move humanitarian supplies for all agencies through the coordination mechanism known as the Logistics Cluster.

Simultaneously, WFP is working with the Government of South Sudan to construct feeder roads to link remote, agriculturally productive areas to main roads and markets. The Feeder Roads operation also links communities to basic services

World Food Programme partners in South Sudan

WFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in South Sudan:

Featured South Sudan publications

  • South Sudan: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 335 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

  • South Sudan: WFP Situation Report

    A Situation Report is a concise operational document with latest updates on the World Food Programme's (WFP) response to an emergency. It gives an overview of WFP’s activities and informs the wider humanitarian community and other interested stakeholders about WFP’s response.

  • South Sudan: Emergency Dashboard

    The Emergency Dashboard provides a visual overview of the most relevant operational information related to WFP’s response in the emergency, including geographical, funding, and performance related information.

Looking for more publications on South Sudan? Visit the South Sudan publications archive.