South Sudan

Residents of Juba arrive at the UN compound on December 20, 2013 where they sought shelter
Civilians fleeing the fighting in South Sudan have taken refuge at U.N. peacekeeping bases, including the one in the capital, Juba.
AFP/TONY KARUMBA

Latest South Sudan Fact Sheet

Key Developments

On February 22 and 23, the parties to the conflict in South Sudan began the process of forming a unity government in the capital city of Juba, under the 2018 revitalized peace agreement. Relief actors lauded the event as a positive development, but stressed the severity of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and the need to address key drivers of the protracted conflict. An estimated 7.5 million people—approximately 64 percent of South Sudan’s population—are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

Since mid-February, escalating intercommunal violence has displaced thousands of people, resulted in hundreds of casualties, increased risks to relief actors, and disrupted humanitarian programming across South Sudan’s Jonglei, Lakes, Unity, Warrap, and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. Clashes between armed youth in Jonglei’s Pibor County resulted in the displacement of at least 8,500 people in early March and temporarily cut off road access to the Greater Pibor area, hindering the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Background

Since gaining independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, South Sudan has confronted a number of humanitarian challenges, including population movements and returnee integration. Ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Two Areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan continues to result in refugee flows into South Sudan, straining scarce resources. In addition, many of the people displaced by violence in 2011 from areas north of the River Kiir in the disputed Abyei Area continue to reside in South Sudan. In the two and a half years since people of South Sudanese origin began returning from Sudan on a large scale directly before and after independence, vulnerable communities in South Sudan have struggled to accommodate more than 700,000 new arrivals, many of whom are rebuilding lives and livelihoods with few resources from which to draw. Inter-communal violence and general insecurity also persist in several parts of the country, particularly in Jonglei State, where fighting has led to significant displacement and deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Lingering effects from more than 20 years of north-south conflict, poverty, and continued tension with Sudan, which led to a cessation of oil exports in 2012 that damaged South Sudan’s economy, compound the humanitarian situation. Confronting deteriorating economic conditions, populations are less able to cope with shocks and increasingly rely on the humanitarian community for basic food and non-food assistance. However, insecurity, bureaucratic harassment of relief organizations, logistical challenges, and Government of the Republic of South Sudan-imposed restrictions constrain humanitarian activities across the country, hindering the delivery of critical assistance to populations in need.

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Last updated: April 01, 2020

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