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Sudan remains low in human development, ranking 167 out of 188 countries in the 2015 Human Development Index. After the 2011 South Sudan secession which led to the loss of substantial oil output and fiscal revenue, the economy continues to struggle.

Over the years, Sudan has faced several conflicts. Despite two significant peace agreements, fighting is still ongoing in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. This has resulted in massive of displacement and restricted movements for humanitarians. The biggest waves of displacement in 2016 were triggered by the conflict in the Jebel Marra area, which ignited in January 2016. Despite continued advocacy efforts, access to affected populations in rebel-held areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Jebel Marra, Darfur, remains a challenge for humanitarian agencies. 

According to the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), since the onset of the conflict in South Sudan in December 2013, 263,245 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Sudan. A disproportionately high number of these are women and children in critical need of humanitarian assistance, as the majority lost nearly all of their possessions at the time of initial displacement. In 2016, many arrived in East Darfur fleeing severe food insecurity and loss of livestock and jobs in South Sudan. With the continuous arrival of South Sudanese refugees, WFP Sudan continues to prioritize its response to new arrivals and the provision of emergency food assistance.

In 2016, the early commencement of the lean season resulted in food security deteriorating earlier than normal, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET). In conflict-affected areas of Jebel Marra, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable residents experienced acute food insecurity during the lean season due to restrictions on movement and livelihood activities, and high staple food prices.

The El Niño weather phenomenon has further exacerbated food insecurity, with acute malnutrition levels increasing above seasonal trends. The humanitarian community in Sudan found that 550,000 out of the 3.5 million affected were in need of seasonal assistance, through a combination of extended lean season food assistance and asset-creating activities for farmers and herders.

Overall, humanitarian needs increased as a result of the crises caused by the Jebel Marra conflict, the arrival of new South Sudanese refugees and El Niño. In response to this, WFP increased the food and nutrition assistance it provides to those newly affected. In 2016, WFP provided food assistance to more than 4 million people and plans to assist 4.2 million people in 2017

What WFP is doing in Sudan

Food assistance

WFP and its partners distribute food to people recently displaced by conflict or natural disaster, vulnerable refugees and IDPs, returnees and severely food-insecure resident communities. Through Food for Assets programmes, communities receive food, vouchers or cash in return for participating in activities to preserve natural resources, support economic activities or improve community services and infrastructure.

Connecting farmers to markets

In coordination with the Government of Sudan, WFP supports smallholder farmers to increase productivity, strengthen rural economies, build more effective markets and increase food security and nutrition. By supporting capacity building and technical assistance and through post-harvest loss reduction activities, WFP empowers smallholder farmers to become competitive actors on food markets.


WFP aims to prevent and treat acute malnutrition in emergency and recovery situations, reduce stunting and prevent micronutrient deficiencies through nutrition-specific interventions. WFP-supported nutrition programmes include treatment and prevention of moderate acute malnutrition, home fortification, emergency supplementary feeding, and social and behaviour change communication.

School meals

The school meals programme targets food-insecure children in rural and conflict-affected areas where access to food is limited, and takes into account educational and gender disparities. Children are provided with wet meals on school grounds encouraging them to attend school and not spend their time in search of food. In Kassala and Red Sea, take-home rations have been supporting girls’ continued education.

Climate resilience

WFP Sudan has expertise in developing and delivering large-scale climate resilience innovations including its Farmers to Markets Initiative (F2M), Joint Resilience Programme (JRP), Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) initiative. These innovations help vulnerable communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from climate-related disasters so that food and nutrition security is no longer an elusive goal for them.

Climate-related food security analysis

Through WFP’s C-ADAPT, Sudan has developed innovative climate-induced food insecurity analyses and practices to inform programming and decision-making. With the Met Office, WFP published a Climate Change and Food Security Assessment to outline how climate risks will impact food security and livelihoods in Sudan under different, future climate scenarios. By outlining the impacts of such scenarios, it provides concrete information for adaptation planning.

Sudán news releases

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