© Peter Bauza

South Sudan

The world's youngest country has been plagued by violence since its founding

South Sudan became the world’s newest country after gaining independence from Sudan in July 2011.

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The 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s new beginning ended Africa’s longest running civil war.

But, in December 2013, the landlocked country in eastern central Africa – home to more than 12 million people – was plunged back into chaos. A civil war erupted amid a power struggle between the president and his deputy.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders has been working in the area that now constitutes South Sudan for more than 30 years, responding to conflicts, neglected diseases and filling healthcare gaps wherever needed.

For the latest news from the country, make sure to follow @MSF_SouthSudan on Twitter

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2019 floods: MSF responding to "state of emergency"

On 30 October 2019, the government of South Sudan declared a state of emergency after heavy flooding hit large parts of the country. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected, with many displaced from their homes or stranded in areas cut-off from basic services and healthcare.

Areas from Bor to Pibor are completely submerged for the flooding

MSF teams are already on the ground responding to an immediate need for access to safe drinking water, shelters for families and basic drugs such as antimalarials.

Currently, the most severely hit areas include Ayod, Maban, Mayom, Nyirol, Pibor and Uror in the Greater Upper Nile region. Several existing MSF projects have been hit by the flooding.


The town of Pibor - where we run a vital healthcare centre - has been particularly affected and is now largely underwater. An estimated 6,000 people are taking shelter on the last remaining island of dry land.

An MSF helicopter lands to provide assistance to flooding victims cut-off in Pibor

Our team here have managed to relocate some medical activities to a location on higher ground and continue to provide healthcare to the most severe patients in a 14-bed facility.

We are also carrying out aerial and ground assessments to understand the full impact of the flooding on communities in more remote areas who may be completely cut-off.

Heavy rains are forecast to continue through November and into December, further restricting humanitarian access to those in need.

South Sudan: Key information

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Conflict and displacement

Tens of thousands of people in South Sudan have died and roughly one in three have been forced from their homes since renewed conflict broke out in December 2013.

Our teams are constantly on the move to continue to provide displaced people with medical care.

Our South Sudanese staff have also been displaced, and have continued to care for patients while hiding from violence. We also provide much-needed medical and mental healthcare in Protection of Civilians camps, where hundreds of thousands of people remain trapped in a hostile environment.

Insufficient healthcare

Medical care is practically non-existent for people living in remote areas of South Sudan, even those spared from much of the violence associated with the war. 

We run hospitals and clinics and support exisiting state facilities, in particular with maternal, paediatric and neonatal care and outbreak response.

We train community healthcare workers, run outreach and preventive activities such as vaccination campaigns, and treat diseases such as tuberculosis and kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis).



Malaria is one of the leading causes of sickness and death in South Sudan, especially among children. Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of contracting malaria during the three-month malaria peak, which begins in the country's rainy season and can overwhelm medical workers. 


At their peak in 2017, malnutrition rates among our patients in Pibor were three times higher than the previous year. We carried out an emergency nutritional intervention here and in response to reports of alarming levels of malnutrition in Mayendit and Leer counties. 


Like malaria, cholera is endemic in South Sudan. As well as vaccinating 200,000 people in the capital, Juba, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, our teams responded to outbreaks in Lankien and Aburoc in 2017.

Sudanese refugees

We provide basic and specialised healthcare for Sudanese refugees living in camps in Yida and Doro and for the surrounding communities, including mass vaccinations and treatment for malaria and malnutrition. 


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