Image depicting Record Hunger in South Sudan
Photo: WFP/Eulalia Berlanga/2021

Record Hunger in South Sudan

South Sudan is facing its hungriest year ever. 8.3 million people are expected to be in a hunger crisis this year – the worst figure on record since the country's independence in 2011.

A Deadly Mix of Conflict & Extreme Weather

Compounding shocks – high food prices, economic fallout from COVID-19 and unprecedented flooding – are driving widespread hunger. All of this in a country that’s still torn apart by years of conflict and struggling to recover quickly for intensifying extreme weather patterns.

On the Brink of Famine

March 2022

Three consecutive years of widespread flooding and localized areas of drought, coupled with increasing subnational violence, insecurity and high food prices have pushed vulnerable communities to their limit.

Photo: WFP/Eulalia Berlanga/2021

December 2021

Since May 2021, nearly 800,000 people have been severely affected by record flooding. Water levels in Lakes Albert and Victoria, which flow into the Nile, are the highest seen in the last 100 years, according to Nasa satellite images. Some areas are bound to remain underwater for the foreseeable future.

Photo: WFP/Theresa Piorr

October 2020

Torrential rain causes devastating flooding, severely impacting 700K people. Conflict worsens, more families are displaced, and there are pockets of near-famine conditions. 1.6M more people need food assistance.

Photo: WFP/Musa Mahadi

July 2020

July 9th, 2020 marks the 9-year anniversary of South Sudan becoming an independent country. Sadly, the country remains in crisis, with four million people displaced by ongoing civil war and six million dependent on humanitarian aid. The U.N. World Food Programme is actively feeding five million of them.

Photo: WFP/Jonathan Dumont

April 2020

With only four confirmed coronavirus cases, South Sudan is hoping to avoid catastrophe. With its poor health care systems and rampant poverty, an outbreak there would be devastating. The pandemic could increase poverty sharply, making it even harder for the country to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

November 2019

After months of drought, the parched soil can't absorb sudden heavy rains. Downpours have caused widespread flooding, and tens of thousands of people have lost their homes. Entire towns are submerged, and the government has declared a state of emergency. Concerns of disease outbreak and starvation are high. WFP is using airdrops, all-terrain vehicles, helicopters, boats and canoes to reach isolated communities.

Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

September 2019

Three UN agencies warn that 54% of the population is facing crisis levels of food insecurity, including 10,000 people in the "catastrophic" level. The ongoing lean season started early due to record low stocks from the poor 2018 harvest and the delay of seasonal rains. The number of children suffering from acute malnutrition will hit 1.3 million – the highest number recorded since the country gained independence - a 51 percent increase from the projection at the beginning of the year.

Source: Press release Photo: WFP/George Fominyen

October 2018

Fears rise again of another famine in South Sudan, with more than 4 million people severely hungry.

Photo: WFP/George Fominyen

August 2018

South Sudan is declared the most dangerous country for aid workers.

Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo

August 2017

The United Nations announces that 1 million South Sudanese refugees have crossed into Uganda.

Photo: WFP/James Akena

June 2017

Famine declaration is rolled back, thanks to a massive humanitarian response.

February 2017

Famine is declared in two areas of South Sudan, the first since the Horn of Africa crisis in 2011.

Photo: WFP/George Fominyen

August 2015

A peace deal is signed, only to fall apart early the next year.

December 2013

Civil war breaks out in South Sudan, pitting the government against rebels.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has been providing lifesaving support to millions of people in virtually all areas of the country that are accessible since independence in 2011. This year, WFP aims to reach 6 million people.

Square photograph of Nyal Detailed photograph of Nyal


Nyal Chol Liech Muon built an impressive dyke to protect her family from rising floodwaters. Today, her home still stands along the banks of Akobo River while her family receives WFP food assistance.

Detailed photograph of Tabani
Photo: WFP/Martin Lukongo/2021


Once Tabani settled his family in a refugee camp right on the border of South Sudan and DRC, he began receiving food assistance from WFP. With this aid, Tabani has been able to rent a field where he cultivates cassava – which he then sells in the local market.

Detailed photograph of Nyawaneloe and Nyapal
Photo: WFP/Eulalia Berlanga/2021

Nyawaneloe and Nyapal

When Nyawaneloe Mat could not produce enough milk for her son Nyapal Bol, she began receiving supplementary food from WFP to treat Nyapal's severe malnutrition. 

WFP Is Meeting the Challenges of South Sudan's Food Crisis Head-On

WFP uses smart, innovative solutions to feed South Sudanese families across the region. These innovations include airdrops, all-terrain vehicles, river barges, and SCOPE registration.

Photo: WFP/Sabine Starke

Airdrops are a critical last resort for families trapped in dangerous and inaccessible areas of South Sudan. These places are cut off from the world by conditions that makes roads impassable. Airdrops allow WFP to reach these areas with emergency food supplies.

Photo: WFP/Hugh Rutherford
All-Terrain Vehicles

All-terrain vehicles, known as SHERPs, deliver lifesaving food to communities in the hardest-to-reach places and most challenging of circumstances. They can cope with the toughest road conditions, overcome obstacles in their way, and even float across water.

River Barges

The Nile river gives WFP access to hungry families that can’t be reached by road. That’s why the humanitarian agency uses river barges to deliver food to towns like Malakal, where hunger has reached emergency levels and people desperately need food assistance.


Blockchain technology enhances WFP’s ability to register and document people who receive food assistance. The SCOPE system helps workers in South Sudan track an individual’s nutrition and health status and identify when a person has recovered and treatment is successful.


South Sudan forms part of a “ring of fire” encircling the globe where climate shocks, conflict, COVID-19 and rising costs are driving millions closer to starvation.

“The extent and depth of this crisis is unsettling. We’re seeing people across the country who have exhausted all their available options to make ends meet and now they are left with nothing,” said Adeyinka Badejo, deputy country director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan.

Read the Latest News Out of South Sudan
But there is more to be done.
Over 8 million people
will face a hunger crisis this year.
$526 million
is needed to mount an effective response