Conflict and Hunger: The Lived Experience of Conflict and Food Insecurity in South Sudan

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As the global community strives to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2) of ending hunger, progress is being fundamentally undermined by conflict. This report seeks to understand: i) how conflict affects different individuals’, groups’ and communities’ experience of hunger and food insecurity differently; ii) the different mechanisms by which conflict affects food security across the different pillars; and iii) what opportunities remain for mitigating the impacts of conflict on hunger.
South Sudan is one of the world’s most conflict-affected and food-insecure countries. In spite of years of steady progress in the reduction of hunger globally, in 2017, famine was declared in parts of the country. Now entering its fifth year, conflict has had a devastating toll on food security, and its impacts show no signs of abating. An estimated 6.1 million are in need of urgent food assistance; and over one million children under the age of five are affected by moderate or severe acute malnutrition. At current levels, humanitarian assistance reaches less than half of all households in need, primarily due to insecurity. In a crisis of this magnitude, even those areas far beyond the front lines of fighting are suffering immensely and feeling the effects of conflict in their communities.
This study documents conflict’s devastating impacts on food security in areas both acutely and less directly affected by violence. In the former, severe insecurity limits movement and in some cases, leads to near-total dependence on food aid. Restrictions on humanitarian access either because of generalised insecurity, or deliberate efforts to prevent access, are deadly weapons of war. Even in areas that appear more stable, conflict profoundly affects communities through localised violence, economic crisis, and as a force multiplier in contexts of natural disasters and climate change.

Concern Worldwide

Since its foundation in 1968, Concern has gone on to work in over 50 countries, responding to major emergencies as well as implementing long term development programmes. Today, with more than 3,900 staff of 50 nationalities, Concern operates in 26 of the world’s poorest countries, helping people to achieve major and long-lasting improvements in their lives.

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