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Independent since 2011, the world’s newest country is also one of its least developed. There are no precise population figures - in 2014, the World Bank estimated there were 11.91 million South Sudanese, four in ten of them aged 14 or younger.

South Sudan is overwhelmingly rural, with petroleum the only export industry. Nine in 10 households depend on crop farming, livestock, fishing or forestry. But productivity across these sectors is minimal; food insecurity is persistent, and exacerbated by conflict and economic crisis.

Fighting erupted in December 2013 and spread rapidly from the capital city of Juba. A peace deal signed in August 2015 has yet to be implemented in full. The conflict has uprooted more than 2.3 million people; nearly 1.7 million have been displaced internally, with neighbouring countries hosting some 650,000 refugees.

Plunging oil prices and revenues have increased poverty and vulnerability, particularly in South Sudan’s towns. Pockets of low rainfall have reduced agricultural yields and caused crops to fail in places. This, coupled with a strained economic situation overall, has kept food prices high and further weakened food security.

South Sudan remains one WFP's toughest working environments, where shrinking humanitarian access and a lack of funding are challenging efforts to meet escalating needs.

What the World Food Programme is doing in South Sudan

Food assistance

WFP provides lifesaving emergency assistance for 1.6 million people directly affected by conflict, and non-emergency food assistance for a further 1.6 million people through our recovery operation. In conflict zones, WFP is using all means at its disposal – airdrops, river boats and distribution of food, cash or vouchers.

Resilience building

In areas not affected by conflict, WFP is supporting vulnerable families with programmes to improve food security, including school meals and asset-creation initiatives. In relatively stable areas, with safe access and existing food stocks, the emphasis is on resilience-building activities, including food for assets, cash for assets, Purchase for Progress, and food for education (school meals and girls’ take-home rations).


WFP’s aviation team manages three complementary air operations, providing the entire humanitarian community with passenger and cargo services. WFP is also working with the Government of South Sudan to construct feeder roads to link remote, agriculturally productive areas to main roads and markets. This also facilitates communities’ access to . basic services.




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