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South Sudan

One of Africa’s most diverse countries with sweeping savannahs, swamplands, rain forests, and over 60 different major ethnic groups, South Sudan has had a difficult birth. Since independence, civil war has resulted in ongoing waves of displacement, violence, and economic instability. Now, unfortunately, one of the world’s newest nations is also one of the poorest. This is where we’re working with families in crisis to offer essential food support.

Poverty and food insecurity continue to jeopardise the lives of the South Sudanese population in this mostly rural country. Since becoming independent in 2011, many people of South Sudan have been living in ongoing poverty and insecurity. Out of an estimated population of over 12 million people, 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance – 4.8 million of which are unsure of from where they will find their next meal.

Armed conflict between communities has increased instability and displaced whole communities. With a collapse in public services, a severe lack of job opportunities and rising food prices, around two fifths of the population face severe food insecurity. What’s more, with additional pressures from climate change induced drought – the country is in crisis.

women smiling and looking at the camera

The situation in South Sudan

Ongoing waves of displacement, violence, and economic instability has crippled communities in South Sudan.

4 million people

have been displaced internally and across neighbouring countries (UN World Food Programme, 2017)


of children (age 6 months – 5 years) are chronically malnourished (UN World Food Programme, 2017)


households are dependent on fishing, forestry, livestock and crop farming (UN World Food Programme, 2017)


is the average life expectancy (World Bank, 2015)

Islamic Relief in South Sudan

Islamic Relief has been working in South Sudan since 2005, when it was a part of Sudan, before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed.

As part of Sudan, it endured decades of civil war and conflict – which displaced millions of people and stunted much-needed development. This has continued since independence in 2011, and now over 8.3 million people need humanitarian assistance.

Civil war broke out in December 2013 and since that time, more than 50,000 people have been killed and more than 3.5 million people have been forced from their homes, despite a ceasefire being declared in 2015.

The United Nations has stated that the conflict has caused the biggest refugee crisis in Africa, and hunger and malnutrition have reached unprecedented levels.

Currently, Islamic Relief has 2 offices in South Sudan. Our Central Equatoria State office is located in Juba, whilst our Tonj North County office is based in Warrap.

We are providing emergency food and water and sanitation for displaced people in Bahr el Ghazal and Central Equatoria and people affected by the drought and the conflict in Eastern Equatoria.

In more stable areas, such as Terekeka in Equatoria, we are helping people to improve their livelihoods through farming.

Last year, we repaired 22 defunct boreholes and provided 32 hand pumps, 40 emergency latrines and 4 water yards.

Islamic Relief in action

Over 8.3 million people in South Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance. Yei is among 34 counties across South Sudan classified as being in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity. The impact of humanitarian crises in South Sudan has led to huge need for more food aid, healthcare, shelter, and water and sanitation activities.

Islamic Relief South Sudan have worked with communities in Yei county to strengthen resilience, reduce suffering, and improve living conditions among displaced families and the communities in which they are sheltering. Islamic Relief provided shelter and distributed food packs, basic essentials, and dignity kits to the most vulnerable households. 

We also helped local farmers to diversify livelihoods, by providing agricultural equipment and seeds – this has helped reduce conflict as people compete for scarce resources.

To help limit and prevent the devastating effects of water insecurity and water-borne diseases in the county, Islamic Relief installed 376 traditional household latrines, drilled 5 new boreholes and constructed 3 solar powered water yards for the communities of Yei, giving 13,750 people safe and clean drinking water. 75% of families reported that they now access water from safe sources, and 85% of households reported a significant reduction in cases of diarrhoea.

Image: Islamic Relief aid workers prepare Qurbani meat packages for distribution.

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