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

What are the current issues in South Sudan

South Sudan officially declared independence on 9 July 2011 to become the United Nations 193rd member state. The country has a total area of 644, 329 square kilometers, and is roughly the size of France or Afghanistan. It has an estimated population of 10.3 million people. Approximately 90 percent of South Sudanese households depend on crop farming, livestock, fishing or forestry for their livelihoods, but productivity across all these sectors is minimal.

It is estimated that only four percent of the arable land is cultivated. Labour and trade opportunities are often limited. Food insecurity is persistent in South Sudan, with at least 10 percent of the population experiencing severe seasonal food insecurity every year for the past five years, regardless of the performance of the agricultural season.

Fighting erupted in Juba, the capital city, in mid-December 2013 and rapidly spread to other parts of the country. Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states are the most affected by the conflict. In May 2015, results of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis, known as IPC, confirmed fears that unrelenting conflict and the onset of the lean season are intensifying alarming levels of hunger – both in conflict-affected areas and in other parts of the country. Nearly 4.6 million, or 40 percent of the population, will face acute hunger in the next three months. Most of these people are in the conflict-affected states of the Greater Upper Nile (Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei) and parts of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal (Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap).

In 2015 WFP aims to assist 3 million people in South Sudan. This includes lifesaving emergency assistance for 1.4 million people directly affected by conflict and 1.6 million people through our recovery operation.

WFP is using all means at its disposal – including airdrops, river boats, and distributions of food, cash or vouchers – to reach hungry people in conflict zones with life-saving emergency food and nutrition. WFP Is supporting vulnerable families in other parts of South Sudan with programmes to improve food security, including school meals and asset-creation initiatives.

However, South Sudan is one of the most challenging places where WFP work and shrinking humanitarian access -- and a lack of funding -- are compromising relief agencies’ ability to meet South Sudan’s escalating needs.

What the World Food Programme is doing in South Sudan

In 2015, WFP is providing lifesaving assistance through an Emergency Operation (EMOP) to respond to the immediate food and nutrition needs of 1.4 million people affected by conflict in South Sudan. The agency is also providing regular food rations to a pre-existing caseload of more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees in camps in Unity and Upper Nile states through a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO).

WFP is looking to ensure that we provide hope through our resilience activities – food for assets, cash for assets, Purchase for Progress, and food for education (school meals and girls’ take-home rations) – in relatively stable areas where we have access, food stocks and security. In 2015, WFP plans to reach 1.6 million people in this manner.

WFP’s aviation team manages three complementary air operations – the UNHAS common passenger service, cargo aircraft to move WFP food and nutrition supplies, and more cargo aircraft to move humanitarian supplies for all agencies through the Logistics Cluster. The current small fleet of 13 aircraft dedicated to moving food supplies has the capacity to carry 300-400 metric tons of food per day.

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.

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.

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