Map of South Sudan
UNICEF photo: a young girl rests against a wooden support © UNICEF South Sudan/2016/Rich A mother comforts her severely malnourished child in clinic operating in the Juba protection of civilians site.

South Sudan

In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children aged 6 months to 15 years in conflict affected areas vaccinated against measles


children reached with critical child protection services


children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 years (35 per cent female) provided with access to education in emergencies

2016 Requirements: US$165,225,589

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Total affected population: 6.1 million1
Total affected children: 3.2 million

Total people to be reached in 2016: 3.4 million
Total children to be reached in 2016: 2.4 million

The situation in South Sudan has deteriorated significantly since the start of 2016 and is compounded by the worsening economy and fragile political situation. A historic high was reached in July when the inflation rate hit 661 per cent year-on-year, more than double the 310 per cent in June2. Despite the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity, fighting erupted in Wau on 24 June, and in Juba on 8 July between government and opposition forces. According to UNHCR, up to 120,000 refugees have fled South Sudan since the onset of hostilities in Juba, adding to the 2.4 million South Sudanese already displaced both within and outside the country since December 2013. Renewed conflict will threaten the lives of already vulnerable children. Food insecurity has reached an all-time high, with at least 4.8 million people now in need of humanitarian assistance and figures are expected to increase further based on upcoming assessments.3 In Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBeG), one in every three children under-five is acutely malnourished. The estimated caseload of children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) across the country has increased from 237,459 at the start of the year to 362,077 currently. Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates are nearly double the emergency threshold of 15 per cent in some states, such as in Unity (26.2 per cent) and NBeG (33.3 per cent). Conflict and food insecurity are exacerbated by a recent cholera outbreak with 2,143 cholera cases and 31 deaths as of 20 September. An acute protection crisis continues, with reports of gender based violence (GBV) intensifying during the recent conflict and children being killed, maimed and recruited. In addition, over half of South Sudanese children are out of school, and the country has the highest proportion of out-of-school children in conflict affected countries. Even where services are available, families are afraid to send their children to school given the high levels of insecurity and military movement.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 253,605 children aged 6 to 59 months with SAM admitted for treatment
  • More than 75 per cent of children aged 6 to 59 months with SAM admitted for treatment recovered


  • 1,171,904 children aged 6 months to 15 years in conflict-affected areas vaccinated against measles
  • 400,000 children under 5 years, pregnant women and other vulnerable people received long-lasting insecticide-treated nets


  • 610,000 people provided with access to safe water as per agreed standards (7.5-15 litres per person per day)
  • 365,000 people provided with access to appropriate sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 610,000 children reached with critical child protection services
  • 120,000 people reached with GBV prevention and response services


  • 325,000 children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 years (35 per cent female) provided with access to education in emergencies
  • 10,000 teachers/educators/teaching assistants/parent-teacher association and school management committee members (30 per cent female) trained

UNICEF is taking action to sustain access to basic services, including critical protection services for the most affected children and their families. As of mid-year, UNICEF has increased its SAM, WASH and GBV targets to take into account additional needs following several events: the crises in Juba and Wau; the recent cholera outbreak; and increased food insecurity and malnutrition. Despite the challenging operating environment including increased insecurity to deliver aid, and violent attacks on humanitarian workers and assets, UNICEF is scaling up its response across all sectors. An integrated package of nutrition, WASH, and health services is being delivered to respond to the high rates of malnutrition in NBeG and to address immediate and underlying causes. The joint-scale up plan with WFP is also being updated. Children are being supported to resume education in safe learning environments through the Back to Learning campaigns. Sustainable access to safe water and sanitation continues, alongside social mobilization and hygiene messaging for the prevention of further spread of cholera. The Health sector will continue to focus on malaria response and other disease outbreaks. UNICEF’s ten field offices remain operational while the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) continues to provide live-saving interventions in hard to reach areas. Response plans have been revised for Juba and Wau, and costed contingency plans for all the states have been developed to strengthen preparedness should violence escalate across the country.

Results to date (January to September 2016)

To date, UNICEF funds available include US$66.65 million received for the current appeal as well as US$37 million carried forward from the previous year. With available funding, 146,449 children have been treated for SAM. An estimated 590,650 conflict affected people now have access to safe water, and 211,754 have access to safe sanitation. Approximately 266,291 children and adolescents have access to education through 207 Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS). More than 420,416 children and adolescents have been reached with critical child protection services, including psychosocial support delivered through Child Friendly Space (CFS) or community based mechanisms, case management and prevention messaging targeting children and adolescents at risk of recruitment, family separation and/or other child protection risks. Due to limited funding, critical child protection services, especially psychosocial support outreach, have been scaled down in terms of geographic coverage. However, UNICEF continues efforts to mobilize funds to reach the planned target. An estimated 453,950 preventative and curative primary health care consultations have been provided to children under five with malaria remaining the major cause of morbidity. UNICEF continues efforts to mobilize funds for a follow-up measles vaccination campaign in October 2016 to reach children at risk. In addition, challenges due to insecurity have delayed the delivery of long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLITN) however distribution will be expedited as access permits.


Funding requirements

UNICEF has revised its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) requirement for South Sudan from US$154.4 million to US$165.2 million to meet the increased humanitarian needs of children in the second half of 2016 and align with the revised 2016 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).4 The cost to operate in South Sudan continues to increase due to the economic crisis, poor infrastructure, increasing access constraints, and the need to airlift humanitarian supplies to the most affected populations in hard to reach areas. The consequences of underfunding can be irreversible. Child protection interventions have already been affected, including suspending family tracing and reunification services for separated children and reducing the coverage of GBV interventions. Without additional funding, UNICEF and partners will not be able to provide life-saving treatment for over 100,000 children with SAM, and 700,000 children will miss out on critical measles immunization. Additional funding is also required to provide education in emergencies and psychosocial support for nearly 60,000 children and adolescents.

1 Total affected population (and children) has been revised from the original HAC, to be align with the 2016 HRP.
2 WFP South Sudan Situation Report #140, August 2016
3 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) June 2016.
4 UNICEF’s 2016 HAC requirements exceed UNICEF’s requirements in the 2016 HRP due to targets set at the start of the year to reach additional beneficiaries with education and child protection support.