Situation Update

The conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013. An estimated 4 million people have been forced to leave their homes looking for safety in other places. Two million people are thought to be displaced inside South Sudan, while another 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan. The total number of people in need of humanitarian support and protection has now reached over 7 million – 4.2 million of those are children.


South Sudan is facing its highest level of hunger and malnutrition since the conflict began. 4.8 million people – many of them children – are facing severe food shortages across the country. If nothing changes, this number is expected to rise to over 6 million and some parts of the country will be at risk of famine within the next couple of months. The threat of starvation and death is real for many children and families, with over a million children aged under-five projected to be malnourished. About 270,000 of those children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, (the most critical form of malnutrition).

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You can read more about the hunger ravaging East Africa on our East Africa Update Page.

We can’t stand by and watch this unfold in front of our eyes when we know more can be done. The most vulnerable are children. Those with the power and leverage to change the situation must not allow the lives of the children of South Sudan to suffer at the expense of politics and self-interest.

- Perry Mansfield, World Vision South Sudan Programme Director



A Brighter Future
South Sudan’s children share their stories of hardship and hope through art

A Brighter Future

South Sudans children share their stories of **hardship** and **hope** through art

KickerThis is a kicker.

**The world's youngest country and its children are in the grip of a bloody civil war. Almost 900,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Uganda since December 2013; a country with some of the most progressive refugee policies in the world.**

Uganda has committed to keeping its borders open, providing land grants to refugee families, allowing individuals the right to work and establish businesses, and access public services such as health care and education. However, they only have 15\-16 per cent of the funds needed to respond to this crisis. As a consequence, food rations have been cut and children are increasingly vulnerable to violence and exploitation. Bidibidi in the countrys north is now home to the worlds largest refugee settlement. Sixty\-eight per cent of its population are children; many of them are scared and completely alone. All of them have witnessed or experienced extraordinary violence. Apartial, an online community of artists, partnered with World Vision to help children in the camp tell their stories through the reproduction of works by internationally renowned contemporary artists such as Maser, Herakut, JR, Seth, Candy Chang and Sandra Chevrier.

Aesthetically, the project also brought colour and hope to a place that lacks both. _"There are a lot of bright colours, it is showing us how bright our futures can be" \-Margaret, 16_

**16\-year\-old Lina produced a self\-portrait in the style of Canadian artist Sandra Chevriers Fragile Heroes.** As the violence in South Sudans capital Juba began to escalate, Lina and her father decided to flee to Uganda. The following morning, she woke and began to pack a bag. Thinking her father had slept\-in, Lina went to check on him. She found his bedroom ransacked and his body hanging from the rafters.

I dont know, what, who killed him. My idea was that it was thief because everything inside was busted. And then I decided to run. I didnt even put my sandals on. A neighbor helped Lina onto a bus heading for Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Uganda. She has lived there alone since August.

> _Almost 900,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in Uganda since December 2013. Fifty\-nine per cent are children. Many of them, like Lina, are alone._

The life is too difficult. Because I am the only person. If it could be two I could endure, but I am alone. I want to study but when I think of the past it confuses me.

Lina was immediately drawn to Sandra Chevriers work and used the same technique to create a self\-portrait. To begin with, a close\-up photograph was taken of Linas face and projected onto a wall where an outline was drawn. She then worked under the guidance of Apartial to paint female superheroes over the top.

> _I like the picture so much. That's why I wanted to shade it by myself. Working on it I was feeling so joyful. I couldnt think of the past._

Lina dreams of being reunited with her only living relative her brother Judith who now lives somewhere in the United States.

He was very clever in school. He got a scholarship in Kampala. He was passing well so an American woman sponsored him. I lost his phone number and email address when I was coming.

**Twelve\-year\-old John is determined to become his countrys president one day. He reproduced a painting of a boy seemingly looking toward a brighter future by French street artist Seth.**

There are children that are wise beyond their years and then theres John. He smiles only when experiencing genuine joy or finds something truly funny. Only speaks when he has something meaningful to say. John has been living all alone in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement since August. When fighting broke out in his village, his family tried to make a hurried escape. Amidst the chaos, he lost his parents and three siblings.

> _I was jumping over dead bodies. There were burning cars, shooting. I ran for my life. I dont know who was responsible or why they were doing it, recounts John. Children were cut and bleeding. Some had their limbs cut off. I lost count of the number of slaughtered. They come to me in my dreams sometimes._

John jumped on\-board a bus bound for Uganda. He has no idea if his family survived. He tries to keep busing by focusing on school and football. Its only when I come back to my tent each night when Im alone, that I feel sad and wonder where they are. When asked about his hopes for the future, John replies with conviction that he will be South Sudans president and outlines his policies for peace and unity, gender equality, and increased school attendance.

> _People must see each other as their brother or sister. If they have disagreements, they must be discussed and worked out. I would also ensure every child gets a meal at school. Without food, they cannot learn. And parents must also send their daughters to school. Sons get priority in South Sudan and that is not right. Girls deserve the same rights as boys._

Also among Johns priorities is better road infrastructure for rural areas to improve economic development.

**At 16\-years\-old, Viola is a wife and mother. The conflict in South Sudan has forced her to grow up far too quickly.**

Viola's parents were on their way into town when they were attacked with machetes and 'slaughtered'. A passerby picked\-up her father's cell phone and used it to notify the family. Viola is the eldest of four children. Her little brother was just 18\-months\-old at the time of their parents' death. Viola remembers him clinging to their mother's body as they tried to bury her. "He didnt want his mother to be put alone, he was following our mother." Viola felt it was her responsibility to care and provide for her brothers and sister. When a man in his 20s asked Viola to marry him, promising a dowry payable to her uncle to convince him take in her siblings; she felt she had no other choice.

> Viola says her parents would not have approved of the marriage. _"They used to love me so much and when I married my husband I was very young. I just did it because of the conditions. They used to tell me Im a young girl, I should go and study so I can become someone responsible in the future. It was my dream to be a doctor."_

When she was nearly nine months pregnant, Viola and her husband decided to flee the increasing violence in her hometown Yei, and seek refuge in Uganda. "I witnessed very many things, the people who were killing would not spare any category, they would kill the lame, the elderly, the children, even the pregnant women." Baby Mary was born not long after the couple arrived in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in September last year. Viola gave birth with no assistance.

Her husband had trouble adjusting to life in Bidibidi. In February, he told Viola he was returning to South Sudan and would send money back to help support Mary. She hasn't received anything or heard from him since. As a consequence, Viola sells half her monthly food rations to buy baby care items for Mary. This means she goes hungry for approximately 15 days until the next distribution.

> _"I feel safe here because there are no shootings, but the conditions are so appalling. The fear I have is sickness because I dont have anybody. I have no money. If Mary falls sick who will help me? I always pray to God that she does not fall sick."_

Viola recreated You Might Be Raising The Worlds Next King by German artists Herakut.

**Keeping** children safe

World Vision estimates 100 unaccompanied children from South Sudan are crossing the border into Uganda each day. Just because theyve managed to escape a war, doesnt mean theyre safe.

Staff on the ground say child marriage is rampant in Ugandas refugee settlements with some vulnerable girls seeing it as a way to survive. In order to protect unaccompanied children from this and other forms of violence, World Vision has arranged interim foster care. So far, more than 2,700 children have been placed with suitable refugee families willing to act as temporary guardians. In addition, 26 Child Friendly Spaces \(CFS\) serving 52,000 children have been built and are running across three refugee settlements. CFS provide children with a safe place to play, receive an early childhood education, psychosocial support, report any instances of violence in the camp and identify vulnerable children to staff.

World Vision has also trained 13,500 South Sudanese children in conflict resolution and is piloting DigiSchool; a portable, solar\-powered, projector that enables children to access learning modules, an offline Wikipedia and videos about keeping safe and peacebuilding. [Read more about how were protecting children.]( )


**South Sudans children deserve** **#ABrighterFuture**

Urgent funding is needed to do feed, protect and educate. **Donate today:** [United States,](\-sudan\-disaster\-relief\-fund\-2\-1) [New Zealand,](\-africa\-hunger\-crisis) [Australia,](\-issues/world\-emergencies/east\-africa#donationWidgetAnchor) [Canada,](\-famine\-relief?ga=2.131113612.2009488940.1496628332\-184483683.1490107721) [Austria,](\-afrika\-2017) [Germany,](\-im\-suedsudan) [France,](\-un\-don#) [Netherlands,]( [United Kingdom,](\-give/make\-donation/south\-sudan\-crisis\-appeal) [Switzerland,]( [Finland,](\-ita\-afrikan\-nalkakriisin\-uhreja) [Ireland,](\-cunningham\-in\-uganda) [Hong Kong,](\-work/africahungerrelief) [South Korea]([,]( [Japan,]( [more countries.](\-vision\-administrative\-offices)


Children in South Sudan are living with the very real fear of hunger and of violence, including armed recruitment, sexual violence, kidnapping and injury. Children have been attacked, abducted, killed, abused, injured or exploited due to South Sudan’s ongoing conflict. The long-term effects of multiple crises, loss of time in school and psychosocial stress will ripple for decades to come.

  • 100,000 children have been directly affected by recruitment, abuse, exploitation and other grave violations. (UNOCHA, 2017)
  • More than 2 million children have been forced to flee their homes. UNHCR, 2017)
  • 1 million children need psychological support to recover from the violence, grief, separation and displacement. (UNICEF, 2017)
  • 7 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection in South Sudan – and 60% of them are children. (UNOCHA, 2017)
  • Tens of thousands of children have been separated from their families.
  • More than 19,000 children, mainly boys, have been forced to join the fighting as child soldiers.
  • More than 1.17 million children have lost access to education due to the conflict and an estimated 1 million children are suffering psychologically.

This video gives a snapshot of the challenges facing school children in South Sudan.

In a recent study we did, children were asked to rank their situations. In Juba, less than one child out of five said they were thriving, while 77% reported that they're struggling and 7% said they were suffering.

•    More than 686,200 children under the age of five are believed to be acutely malnourished – including more than 231,300 who are severely malnourished.
•    Over 10,000 children are unaccompanied, separated from their families or missing.
•    An adolescent girl in South Sudan is three times more likely to die in childbirth than to complete primary school.

Photo: Ayen is eight and during the conflict, was separated from her family. World Vision helped reunite the family in one of the IDP camps.

If you go outside the UN camps to buy bread, okra, or meat, then something might happen to you. You feel afraid.

- Elizabeth, 15, Juba

Our teams in South Sudan are speaking regularly with children in three areas affected by the conflict to find out how they’re living and about the risks they cope with every day. Their experiences give a snapshot of the wider conflict and how it’s affecting children.

Read our latest report: Fear and want: children living in crisis in South Sudan ›


We have been on the ground responding to this devastating crisis since it began. Our teams are working to save lives and ease the suffering of children and families affected by the conflict. Working in South Sudan is difficult. The serious insecurity, added to transport problems during the rainy season make it increasingly hard to access vulnerable communities. But, working with partners, we have delivered life-saving items to more than 1,018,239 people since January 2018, and 406, 637 of those are children.

For more details on this please see our East Africa Update page.

We've been supporting vulnerable people with:

  • food and nutrition assistance,
  • water,
  • health and sanitation,
  • hygiene,
  • shelter and basic household kits
  • and child protection activities, including setting up Child Friendly Spaces.

We've also been working on livelihood activities, with families displaced within South Sudan.

Since February 2018, World Vision South Sudan has been working in partnership with UNICEF, the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (NDDRC), and the Ministry of Education, to reunify and reintegrate 629 children associated with armed groups. In March 2018 alone, 155 released former child soldiers received psychosocial support.

Partnership with World Food Programme

In close partnership with the United Nations’ World Food Programme, we’ve recently started three more, year-long projects in South Sudan to help address the hunger crisis. In Juba, the capital of South Sudan, vulnerable households are being given $45 a month (approx £32) to buy provisions in local markets. This has the effect of stimulating the local economy. We’re also providing nutrition education, hygiene awareness sessions, business skills training and home gardening groups helping over 2,000 people overall.

World Vision staff working with people in South Sudan.

The UN’s Protection of Civilians camps for people identified as being at high risk. It’s not safe for them to leave to search for food or work. We’re working in these camps providing cereals, pulses, fortified oil and salt.

World Vision staff prepare food to be distributed in Protection of Civilians camps.

In the Upper Nile Area of South Sudan, we’re providing mobile food distribution by air to reach 10,000 people cut off by conflict. Food is dropped, and our teams work with communities to distribute it to the most vulnerable.

We’re also providing food in schools. This encourages enrolment and attendance, helps pupils’ concentration and takes away some of the family pressure to provide food.

And by giving high energy food to all under-fives, we’re helping to prevent malnutrition from damaging them in the early years of development.

Right: World Vision Staff account for the high energy and nutritious food which is given to young children.

Hard to reach

Because we work wherever we’re most needed, our teams are improving the living conditions of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the UN camp in Malakal and other sites in Upper Nile state. However, we know that around 90% of IDPs are constantly moving or sheltering away from organised camps so we’re also working in the more hard-to-reach and remote places.

Our work in remote and volatile areas includes:

  • food distribution
  • distributing vegetable seeds and tool kits, including assorted seeds (tomatoes, onions, water melons, collard greens, carrots, okra and cabbage)
  • diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition
  • providing access to clean and safe water
  • hygiene facilities
  • providing mosquito nets and jerry cans to tens of thousands of people
  • protection and support for children seriously affected by conflict 
  • enrolling children in primary education and constructing temporary classrooms for primary and  for preschool.

Seeking refuge in Uganda

Over 1.3 million South Sudanese people have been forced to flee to Uganda for safety, with an average of 100 refugees arriving each day.

85% of these refugees are women and children under the age of 18. These children bear the brunt of the conflict especially when they are unaccompanied or separated.

Children on the journey experience challenges such as lack of shelter, food and clothing and are vulnerable to psychosocial distress, sexual and gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation.

You can donate now to our South Sudan appeal to give urgently needed help to children and their families fleeing to Uganda.

Scovia's Story

Bears on stairs

With conflict still raging in South Sudan, thousands more children continue to cross the border into Uganda. Most of them have absolutely nothing – not even toys. In December 2017, 700 teddy bears donated by you embarked on a 6,000-mile journey to the refugee settlements in northern Uganda to give the children a little bit of Christmas joy. You can find out more here »

Child Protection

We've set up a child protection programme, including Child Friendly Spaces, early childhood development and peace-building projects. As of April 2018 over 53,000 children were enrolled in our 37 Child Friendly Spaces receiving psychosocial support. Over 13,000 children aged 3-6 also took part in our early childhood development activities.

Read our latest Story: Child Friendly Spaces For South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda »


Photo: Children in Adjumani, Northern Uganda are having fun at the CFS. They love coming here every day and enjoy speaking to the World Vision staff.

In April 2018 alone, we reached over 728,000 people in Uganda with lifesaving assistance including more than 381,000 children.

More we're doing to help

We're the lead agency distributing food in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), reaching more than 260,000 refugees.

We've been renovating water sources, constructing boreholes and latrines, and delivering core relief items including blankets, mats, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, solar lamps, soap, sanitary pads, underwear and kitchen sets. And we're providing hot meals at the new refugee settlements.

You can read more about the situation in Uganda here.

Involving children in the peace building process

Our teams in Uganda, in partnership with UNICEF, have also started a peace building, participation and psychosocial support project for refugees from South Sudan.

The Empowering Children as Peace Builders (ECaP) model is proven to build supportive and safe environments for all children to participate in peace building.

Restoring smiles as children take the lead in peace building processes highlights success stories and best practices of the different child-led initiatives under this project.


Right now we have a chance to act. To stop hunger and starvation from more lives.


Funding shortfalls, and other challenges have hampered aid efforts to reach the worst-affected and most vulnerable people, especially children. 

You can give now to help improve the wellbeing of children in South Sudan today and into the future.


South Sudan is one of the countries supported by Raw Hope, an initiative from World Vision that is focused on saving and protecting children in the world’s most dangerous places.

Watch the latest video about our Raw Hope work in South Sudan.



From refugee to award-winning aid-worker: My journey as a woman in conflict zones

Monday 18, Mar, 2019

Christine Ngbaazande from Yambio has been awarded a coveted humanitarian honour at the Bond International Development Awards in London.

Children born of rape in war: Jacob's story

Tuesday 19, Jun, 2018

Jacob is 17 years old. He should be enjoying school and thinking about his future, but instead his short life has been marred by struggle.

Meet the girls using football to challenge gender stereotypes

Thursday 14, Jun, 2018

As the World Cup gets underway, we visit a group of girls in South Sudan using the beautiful game to make a difference.


So far you've helped us raise over £60,000 for the South Sudan Crisis Appeal.

But we still need more to provide emergency food, water and medical care to the children and families most in need.