The State of Lifesavers in South Sudan

The world’s newest country is slowly emerging from a civil war that has killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. But the break has not led to a more peaceful, prosperous environment.

Damage caused by violent demonstrators who attacked the United Nations agency and humanitarian compounds in Bunj, in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan, on July 23,2018. Photography: Isaac Billy / UNMISS / CC BY-NC-ND

Constant threat of violence has left more than two million South Sudanese internally displaced, and meeting basic needs is a daily struggle for the vast majority of the country’s 12.3 million people.

Attacks on Aid Workers will not help the young country

Persistent violence in the country has also limited communication capabilities and weakened basic infrastructure, including road networks, making aid delivery both arduous and costly.
Photography: UNMISS\Nektarios Markogiannis

South Sudan has been on a downward spiral marked by civil war, a weakened economy, and limited access for aid delivery since 2013, just two years after gaining independence from Sudan.

However the youngest country in the Africa aid sector comprises of almost 25,000 local staff and more than 2,600 foreigners, according to figures seen by Devex from South Sudan’s NGO Forum and the U.N. Office for the Coordination Of Humanitarian Affairs.

Many humanitarians spend long periods working in remote locations across the country, living in conditions far outside their comfort zones.


Humanitarian Outcomes research in 2018 ranked South Sudan has the most dangerous place for humanitarian aid workers.

Fighting between government forces and National Salvation Front (NAS) rebels in South Sudan killed three aid workers with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in October 2019.

Also in December 2019, brutal attacks were made on humanitarian aid workers in Maban area of South Sudan.

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