South Sudan Crisis

About the Crisis


In South Sudan, more than 3.3 million people have fled their homes since fighting broke out in December 2013. Populations continue to flee South Sudan in record numbers as conflict spreads into new areas. Disruptions to local markets, a collapsing economy, and related food insecurity also contribute to the mass internal displacement and population movements currently underway.

Famine was declared in part of South Sudan on February 20. An estimated 5.5 million people–nearly half of South Sudan’s population–will face life-threatening hunger this year. As fighting rages on, many are stuck in overcrowded peacekeeping bases that were meant as temporary housing for those who initially fled when the conflict first erupted. Children are not able to go to school, families have been torn apart, and farmers cannot harvest crops. Health problems resulting from malnutrition and a lack of sanitation proliferate.

Compounding these dire circumstances, humanitarian workers have been killed or are missing, harassed, assaulted or expelled from the country. Food and other humanitarian supplies have been looted. Deliberate attacks on the men, women, and children who receive humanitarian assistance continue to worsen an already critical situation.

Despite these challenges, USAID and its partners are overcoming significant obstacles and working against all odds to reach those in need. Aid workers are tirelessly working at great personal risk to deliver life-saving assistance to South Sudan’s most vulnerable, using every means possible–including air, river, and road–to reach people who would otherwise be cut off from aid. Humanitarian organizations are providing food, safe drinking water, emergency medical care, critical nutrition, improved hygiene and sanitation, as well as emergency shelter materials and other vital relief supplies to millions in need.

Details About the Ongoing Response Efforts

Additional information on humanitarian relief organizations can be found on ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information portal run by the United Nations.

Additional information can be found on USAID/OFDA’s South Sudan web page here.


USAID created the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) in 1988 one month after Hurricane Gilbert made landfall as a Category 5 storm that affected 10 countries. An outpouring of unsolicited donations took up space needed to stage and deliver life-saving relief supplies, and USAID and other responders spent valuable time managing unneeded clothing, expired medicine, and other non-critical items. USAID established the Center to educate the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and the downside of donating unsolicited material goods USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) leads and coordinates the U.S. government’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas, responding to an average of 65 disasters in more than 50 countries every year. Learn More About USAID/OFDA

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