Almost 8 million people in South Sudan are facing acute malnutrition or starvation
The ‘food insecurity gap’ shows that South Sudan is experiencing the most severe food insecurity crisis in the world.
Humanitarian funding to South Sudan has decreased since 2020.
Just 0.4% of humanitarian funding for food sectors to South Sudan goes directly to front-line local aid organisations.
A new ‘food insecurity gap’ metric, developed by Development Initiatives (DI) and commissioned by CAFOD, found that South Sudan is experiencing the most severe food insecurity in the world.
The food crisis is being driven by continued conflict and climate crises such as flooding and drought. Last year was the 5th year of severe food insecurity for South Sudan, impacting over half (54%) of its total population (14.3 million).
Local and national actors (LNAs) are identified as key in the effective delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance, yet almost no food sector funding is directly targeted to LNAs in South Sudan.
The research found that just 0.4% humanitarian funding for food sectors to South Sudan goes to the front-line local aid organisations directly, despite clear evidence that local groups are more effective in tackling hunger.
The consequences have been deadly and are contributing to South Sudan having one of the worst life expectancy rates in the world (58 years).
Research also found that despite the worsening crisis, overall humanitarian funding to South Sudan has decreased since 2020.
This lack of funding is particularly acute when compared to other countries in the region. For example, since the current conflict in Ethiopia began in 2020, food sector funding has more than doubled (2020-22).
However, in the same period – despite South Sudan experiencing the most severe food insecurity in the world – food sector funding is estimated to have decreased by over a third (38%).
The UK, as well as the wider international community, has significantly reduced its funding to South Sudan. Since 2017, the amount provided to South Sudan in the “South Sudan Humanitarian Fund” by the UK has dropped from $22m to just $3m in 2022.
The UK aid budget for South Sudan was also cut by 59% in 2021, resulting in cuts to critical work across the country.
Christine Allen, the Director of CAFOD said:
“The fact that South Sudan is facing the most severe food crisis in the world, yet it is seeing its funding cut year in year is shameful.
“The people of South Sudan have experienced endless conflict, as well as floods and drought. It is tackling these injustices that our aid budget should prioritise.
“We need the UK to play its role with the wider international community, to step and show support to South Sudan through reversing aid cuts. If we don’t, the already dire situation will only get worse.”
The parts of the country experiencing the most severe hunger, such as Pibor and neigbouring regions, are also where international agencies have largely or entirely withdrawn due to conflict, and it is local organisations that stay and deliver assistance, and yet receive the least support to do so.
Gloria Mojong Morris of Titi Foundation South Sudan, who provides life saving support for women and girls in the hardest to reach areas of the country said:
“The UN and International NGOs talk a good game about the best model to responding to a crisis is to be as local as possible, but the reality couldn’t be more different.
“The local organisations, who are on the front-line responding to crises, in areas where no one else can go are too often ignored. If we are ever going to tackle entrenched humanitarian crises, we need to properly fund those on the front-line responding.”