• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 4,381,000 People displaced [?]
  • 1,127 Fatalities reported [?]
  • 7,200,000 People in Need [?]

Special Reports




South Sudan has witnessed intermittent civil war since December 2013 and widespread communal and localised violence. As a result, there is widespread insecurity, large-scale internal displacement, and refugee outflow to Sudan and Uganda, as well as largely deteriorated food security. As of Januyary 2020, 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.?

The latest peace agreement in South Sudan signed in 2018, also known as the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), has brought a fragile truce and led to the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in February 2020. While there has been a reduction in conflict between the government and main opposition, and localised violence has surged as a result of conflict over land and resources, cattle raiding, and reprisal attacks.

The surge in intercommunal violence throughout South Sudan resulted in significant civilian casualties during the first quarter of 2020. In 2020, people living in Jonglei state and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area have experienced recurring violence, displacing more than 60,000 and crippling the food security and livelihoods of growing numbers of people.?These displaced people urgently require food assistance, healthcare and WASH services?Overall nearly 4 million people are displaced, including 1.6 million IDPs and 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees. In addition, South Sudan hosts over 305,000 refugees from Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Central African Republic.?

INFORM measures South Sudan's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster for 2020 to be very high, at 9/10, up from 8.9/10 in 2019. South Sudan's vulnerability is measured at 9.3/10.?

Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

For information on the impact of COVID-19 in South Sudan, see the paragraph below. 

Humanitarian Access


Very high constraints

Humanitarian access in South Sudan is stable, but remains highly constrained. People’s movements are severely restricted because of the impact of heavy flooding in two consecutive years, violence, and COVID-19 measures, affecting both the access of people in need to humanitarian aid and the effective delivery of relief by humanitarian workers. Security concerns significantly inhibit humanitarian activities. South Sudan has one of the world’s highest rates of violent incidents against humanitarian workers. Since June 2020, 16 humanitarian workers have been killed, one kidnapped, and 27 injured, mostly during ambushes. Flooding is aggravating access to road infrastructure, which is among the least developed in the East Africa region.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Food Security


An estimated 7.24 million people (60% of the country’s population) will be facing Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above) levels of food insecurity in South Sudan for the projected period of April–July 2021. This is an increase of almost one million people compared to the 6.35 million who faced Crisis or worse levels in the period October–November 2020. In the last months of 2020, an estimated 24,000 people were already facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) levels of acute food insecurity in Pibor county in the Pibor Administrative Area and in Tonj North county in Warrap state (11,000 and 13,000 people respectively). It is estimated that an additional 7,000 people will experience IPC Phase 5 levels in Northern Bahr el Ghazal for the projected period of April–July 2021.?

Elevated levels of food insecurity are contributing to high levels of malnutrition; about 1.4 million children under five years old are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021 – the highest number in three years.?

Key drivers of the high levels of acute food insecurity in the country include flooding, conflict and insecurity, and population displacements, as well as diseases and pests which negatively affect crop production, access to food, and livelihoods. The economic crisis (linked to the fall in oil prices), compounded by the effects of COVID-19, and the overall limited access to basic services have also contributed to asset depletion and loss of livelihoods, increasing food insecurity and malnutrition across the country.?

Impact of COVID-19


As at 4 January 2021, South Sudan had registered 3,558 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths.?

Despite efforts to contain the number of COVID-19 cases as well as sensitisation campaigns, stigmatisation against people wearing masks in public or within families is not uncommon, while some continue to deny the existence of the virus. Resistance to complying with measures is posing a serious challenge to the response’s effectiveness.?

The effects of COVID-19-related measures have disrupted livelihoods and economic activities as well as slowed down and restricted the flow and delivery of both commercial and humanitarian supplies and services. Although most COVID-19-related restrictions were lifted in May, the consequences are still felt across the country. The overall demand for labour and services remains low, despite a gradual increase in business activities in urban areas. The impacts of COVID-19 are also expected to persist into 2021, further affecting levels of food security across the country.?

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information related to the outbreak, see the ACAPS COVID-19 Project.

Yellow Fever Outbreak (Uganda/South Sudan)


The WHO has declared a yellow fever outbreak in South Sudan. On 3 March, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan reported two presumptive cases of yellow fever in Kajo Keni county, later confirmed on 28 March.

The disease was first reported in Uganda, with eight confirmed cases between November 2019 and February 2020. Kajo Keni county, an area along the border with Uganda, has nearly 0% immunity to the disease and is a high-risk area given the high rate of spontaneous return of displaced people from Uganda. The March onset of rainy season has been an additional challenge, providing favourable breeding conditions for mosquitoes, the primary mode of transmission for yellow fever.

The Ministry of Health and WHO  launched a targeted vaccination campaign in the affected area in South Sudan. The mass vaccination campaign scheduled to begin by 17 April in affected districts in Uganda has been postponed due to COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions.?

Desert Locust Outbreak


The Horn of Africa is suffering from the worst desert locust infestation in decades, threatening food security and livelihoods. Since July 2019, eight countries have been most affected: Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Sudan. As of February 2020, an estimated 140,000 hectares of crops have been infested in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, and the situation continues to worsen.?

As of June 2020, South Sudan remains in a vulnerable position. As local breeding is currently taking place, some swarms are expected to invade South Sudan and Uganda and move north.?

The ability of desert locusts to form large swarms and consume vast quantities of crops poses severe risks to food security and livelihoods in the affected countries, where more than 20 million people already face IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or higher levels of food insecurity .?