South Sudan is the world's newest country. It was created by separation from its neighbouring Sudan on 9 July 2011. It is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.
South Sudan has been plagued by continuous crises which have generated huge humanitarian needs. Most South Sudanese struggle to meet their basic needs. Food insecurity is a concern and affects half of the population. Malnutrition is chronic in many parts of the country.
The most recent armed violence – which broke out in the capital Juba on the 15th December 2013 and subsequently spread to six out of South Sudan’s ten states – has left in its wake thousands dead and more than 860 000 uprooted from their homes. Fleeing to safety from the areas of armed violence, people abandon their whole livelihoods and become extremely vulnerable and dependent on external help. The ongoing conflict comes on top of existing challenges due decades of civil war, epidemic outbreaks, seasonal flooding, underdevelopment and extreme poverty.
South Sudan hosts about 230 000 refugees from neighbouring countries, including 200 000 refugees from Sudan's conflict-torn South Kordorfan and Blue Nile States. They live mainly in refugee camps in remote areas of Unity and Upper Nile State. South Sudan is also home to refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic.
The working environment for the provision of aid in South Sudan is extremely difficult: humanitarian access is uncertain, the transport infrastructure almost inexistent and the security situation very volatile.
On 23 January 2014, an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in South Sudan was signed in Addis Ababa, but violations of the agreement by both sides have since been reported. A rapid improvement in the security situation is needed to allow unhindered deployment of aid workers and relief supplies throughout the country.
The European Commission has been supporting life-saving activities in South Sudan with more than €200 million since 2012. Aid includes assistance for internally displaced people, returnees and refugees providing them with basic healthcare, access to clean water, sanitation and food assistance. A team of ECHO experts is permanently based in the country, working closely with partner relief organizations and monitoring the situation and the efficient use of EU funds. They are backed by a team in Brussels which organizes the funding and advocacy for unhindered humanitarian aid provision. ECHO partner organizations in South Sudan include United Nations' agencies, non-governmental organizations and international organizations.