Crisis in
South Sudan

More than a year after a peace agreement was signed to end South Sudan’s crippling civil war, the levels of violence are escalating and humanitarian conditions in the country continue to deteriorate. The United Nations humanitarian affairs agency OCHA reported in mid-2016 that civilians continued to be killed and subjected to egregious human rights violations. Violent attacks on humanitarian workers and health care workers in general are also on the increase. Hostility levels are high and tension in the country continues to grow as confidence ebbs that a meaningful peace can be found. As a direct result of the war, millions of people are at-risk of starvation.

Hunger Risk 

Millions of people are at-risk of starvation


people displaced inside their own country

100,000 youth

registered as unaccompanied, separated from their families or missing

60 MINUTES: Fighting famine in war-torn South Sudan

Go behind the scenes as 60 Minutes reports from a stabilization center in South Sudan, where doctors are fighting to save lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the civil war about?

    Long-simmering tensions between two major political groups broke into open warfare in December 2013. Ethnic differences that tend to parallel the political divide complicate efforts to achieve any meaningful, lasting reconciliation. The majority of the president’s followers belonging to South Sudan’s majority Dinka ethnic group while the former vice president’s supporters are Nuer, the second largest of the country’s 60-odd ethnic groups.

  • What’s being done to stop the fighting?

    Internationally-led efforts led to a fragile peace agreement in May 2016, however fighting has continued despite the accord. The United Nations has also deployed 7,500 troops on the ground to protect the civilian population from the fighting.

  • What is the toll of the conflict in human terms?

    The civil war decimated whatever development gains the country made since it became the world’s youngest nation in 2011. The economy has collapsed, with basic food staples now out-of-reach for many South Sudanese, while families in rural areas have not been able to plant their crops for three consecutive seasons as a result of fighting. This has left an estimated six million people without enough to eat. In February, a famine was officially declared in two areas of Unity State. An increase in aid helped to improve food security conditions in these two counties, reversing the famine classification; however, millions are still at-risk of starvation across the country. The fighting has also uprooted nearly four million South Sudanese from their homes. Half of them are displaced inside the country.

  • What is the humanitarian response to the crisis and what specifically is International Medical Corps doing?

    International Medical Corps works across five states in South Sudan, providing emergency medical care, nutrition, mental health and protection services to hundreds of thousands of people. As food insecurity deepens in South Sudan, we are expanding our primary health and nutrition services to reach people from Leer and Mayendit counties, the two areas where famine has officially been declared. This includes traveling by canoe deep into South Sudan’s giant swampland known as the Sudd to reach very remote islands where people are seeking refuge from the fighting.

Help Save Lives on the Ground

The Challenges


Four million people have been displaced since the civil war began in December 2013


Six million people in South Sudan are severely food insecure


Tens of thousands are estimated to have lost their lives in the nearly three years of civil war

Our Response


International Medical Corps trains a range of service providers in guiding principles of GBV prevention and response, as well as key actions to take to mitigate risks of women and girls in emergency settings. International Medical Corps has established centers to act as safe spaces for women and girls to share and receive information as well as build support networks.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

International Medical Corps is providing access to psychosocial interventions and medications to people with mental, neurological and substance use problems in the internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugee camps. Additionally, our expatriate psychiatrist based in Juba provides online (Skype, phone, email) consultations whenever required.


Through outpatient therapeutic feeding and supplementary feeding programs, International Medical Corps relies on community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) to treat acute malnutrition, to reduce stress on health systems, to increase program coverage to reach a greater number of beneficiaries and to strengthen overall program impact. In South Sudan, International Medical Corps is providing treatment for severely and moderately acutely malnourished children under five and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF. We are expanding these services in Unity county to reach those facing and fleeing famine conditions in Leer and Mayendit counties. We also provide 24-hour care to severely malnourished children with medical complications in our pediatric intensive care unit in the PoC in Juba.

Health System Strengthening

South Sudan has fewer than 200 doctors to serve its population of 9 million. To increase access to care, International Medical Corps works to build the capacity of South Sudan’s health system through training programs that target health professionals and key community members. This includes training men and women to become midwives by supporting midwifery schools across South Sudan.

A City Forced to Take Refuge: Near constant fighting and violence has forced the entire population of Malakal, South Sudan to live in a UN camp

The city of Malakal’s entire population of 46,000 people has taken refuge in a nearby United Nations camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in order to escape fighting between warring factions in South Sudan’s civil war that sputters on despite a peace agreement signed more than a year ago


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