Immediate Access Needed to Save Lives in Famine-stricken Communities in South Sudan

Release Date: 
Feb 23, 2017
Press Contact: 
Rebecca Gustafson
+1 202 828 5155

LOS ANGELES/LONDON – In the wake of three years of ongoing conflict and political turmoil in South Sudan, more than 100,000 people now face starvation and death in Leer and Mayendit counties, and more than one million additional people in Greater Unity region are on the brink of famine, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification update recently released by the Republic of South Sudan, the United Nations, and humanitarian agencies.

Insecurity continues to force families from their homes and hinder humanitarian access in South Sudan. Across the country, nearly 5 million people—or more than 40 percent of the population—face life-threatening hunger, and that number is only expected to increase if additional aid is unable to reach those in need.

"Lives have already been lost because people haven’t had enough to eat, and the situation worsens with every passing day. We can prevent more people from dying, but we must be able to reach them. And we need to reach them now," said Golam Azam, International Medical Corps’ Country Director in South Sudan. "We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately provide humanitarian organizations with safe, unrestricted access to communities in need."

As the crisis in Leer County deepened, families fled to nearby Nyal County to find temporary shelter, food, water, health care, and other critical relief. International Medical Corps, one of the only health organizations working in Nyal County, is supporting host communities and displaced persons by providing lifesaving nutrition services; primary, secondary, and reproductive health care; psychosocial and mental health care; support for survivors of gender-based violence; and awareness-raising to help prevent the spread of disease. International Medical Corps operates a clinic that serves the more than 80,000 people now living in Nyal town as well as mobile clinics that reach an additional 20,000 persons displaced from Leer County. In addition, the organization has also trained community health workers in Leer County to identify and refer those with malnutrition or other common diseases for treatment and support.

International Medical Corps teams are working in seven of South Sudan’s 11 states, providing health care, nutrition services, and other relief to hundreds of thousands of people. This includes working in 77 health facilities and supporting a stabilization center in the displacement camp in the capital of Juba, which provides 24-hour care for severely malnourished children with medical complications.