Record number of individuals on the verge of starvation despite improved condition in South Sudan counties formerly struck with famine

Though the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Technical Working Group declares South Sudan free from famine, the number of individuals on the brink of starvation has reached 6 million people—the largest number ever recorded for South Sudan, warns World Vision.

The UN-backed IPC report released on Wednesday said famine is no longer occurring in Leer and Mayendit counties as a result of increased humanitarian assistance. 

Further deterioration was also prevented in Koch and Panyijiar counties, which were previously classified as being “at risk of famine”. However, approximately 6 million persons (half the population) are at risk of starvation. This is an increase from 5.5 million persons at risk in May, 2017. Of the 6 million persons on the brink of starvation, 45,000 are estimated to be facing Humanitarian Catastrophe, and another 1.7 million are expected to be facing a food security emergency. 840,000 children under-five are acutely malnourished, and 3.6 million people are displaced.

In order to continue responding to the unprecedented needs and not allow the re-emergence of famine in South Sudan, measures should be put in place to allow scaling up of life-saving support to the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. Furthermore, to ensure no one is left behind, World Vision has recommended protecting children from hunger, violence and their underlying drivers. 

Perry Mansfield, National Director World Vision in South Sudan said, “While we are happy the situation of those experiencing famine has improved, it is vital that assistance is not slowed or downscaled. If this happens, these areas could easily slip back into famine again; higher levels of food insecurity will continue to expand to other areas of the country– putting at risk the lives of millions of the most vulnerable people, particularly children”.

“It is now that we need to dig even deeper, to continue responding to the larger population that is suffering from severe food insecurity countrywide. Severe food insecurity is still spreading, and at a higher rate than originally projected by analysists. The people of South Sudan still require continuous support from the humanitarian community,” Perry added.

Notes to editors:

  • The humanitarian community in South Sudan is appealing for $1.6 billion to reach the 5.8 million people considered most vulnerable to the current humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. However, the total number of individuals who are in need of humanitarian aid and protection services totals 7.5 million.
  • The increase in the number of people facing severe food insecurity is largely due to an escalation of violence in the former state of Jonglei and the western bank of the former Upper Nile State. It has been further fuelled by country-wide food shortages associated with seasonality, economic deterioration and humanitarian assistance delivery constraints.
  • Between 17 May and 8 June, 2017 World Vision reached 386,040 people with assistance. More than 34,000 children were reached with child protection and education interventions.

For more information, please contact: 

Rose Ogola | Communications Manager, World Vision South Sudan | 

About World Vision

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.