Food Assistance Fact Sheet - South Sudan

Map of South Sudan

September 30, 2019

After more than five years of conflict, South Sudan remains one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. Ongoing violent conflict; population displacement and restricted movement; and disruption of trade, markets, and cultivation activities have exacerbated food insecurity and humanitarian needs.


  • Food security conditions across South Sudan will likely improve as seasonal harvests become available between September and December, when more than 4.5 million people, representing 39 percent of South Sudan’s overall population, are projected to face Crisis (IPC 3) or Emergency (IPC 4) levels of acute food insecurity and require urgent food assistance.  Between January and April 2020, however, food security conditions will likely deteriorate as households deplete their food stocks, leaving 5.5 million people—47 percent of the population—facing Crisis or Emergency conditions, according to a September Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis.*
  • The IPC analysis reports the security situation in South Sudan has improved slightly since the signing of the September 2018 peace agreement between the South Sudanese Government and a main opposition group, encouraging some populations to return home and increase agricultural activities.  However, economic instability, high food prices, limited employment opportunities, and shocks like floods and conflict undermine households’ livelihoods throughout the year.  
  • According to the IPC analysis, about 1.3 million children ages 6 to 59 months required treatment for acute malnutrition as of August; the UN reports that this figure represents the largest number recorded since South Sudan gained independence in 2011. The IPC analysis attributes the high malnutrition prevalence to limited access to basic services, high disease prevalence, and poor diets and young child feeding practices, as well as persistent food insecurity.

* The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5). 


  • A sustained and unimpeded humanitarian response is critical to saving lives in South Sudan. Since the start of the conflict, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) and its partners—including the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)—have assisted the most vulnerable and conflict-affected populations through emergency food and nutrition interventions across the country. FFP-supported programs provide life-saving in-kind and cash-based food assistance to an average of more than 1 million people per month. 
  • FFP also partners with Catholic Relief Services to provide emergency food assistance, expanded access to safe drinking water, and livelihoods interventions, such as agricultural training, to families in Jonglei State.
  • Additionally, with FFP support, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) helps food-insecure South Sudanese increase household food production by distributing seeds, tools for planting, and fishing kits.  FAO also provides vulnerable families with food vouchers that can be exchanged at nearby markets, improving access to nutritious foods and supporting local economies.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2019 $374.8 million 168,384 MT
Fiscal Year 2018 $398.2 million 154,341 MT
Fiscal Year 2017 $522.3 million 255,422 MT
* Metric tonnage does not reflect funding for vouchers or cash transfers. 

Related Resources

Last updated: October 16, 2019

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