South Sudan

Public health risk assessment and interventions : Conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan - 13 January 2014


The purpose of this public health risk assessment is to provide all health sector partners, including professionals of local and national authorities, non‐governmental organizations (NGOs), donor agencies and United Nations agencies currently working with populations affected by the emergency in the Republic of South Sudan, with up‐to‐date technical guidance on the major public health threats faced by the affected population.

The topic areas addressed have been selected on the basis of the burden of morbidity, mortality and potential for increased burden of disease in the affected area.

Public health threats represent a significant challenge to those providing health‐care services in this evolving situation. It is hoped that this risk assessment will facilitate the coordination of activities among all partners working among the populations currently affected by the crisis.

Executive Summary

Since its independence, the Republic of South Sudan has experienced internal conflict which has begun to deteriorate into a civil war. On 15 December 2013, there was an armed confrontation in the presidential palace in Juba between army officers loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers backing his ex-deputy Riek Machar. There are reports that thousands have been killed in the civil unrest and tens of thousands displaced along ethnic lines, leading to the current humanitarian crisis.

As of 10 January 2014, the number of people reported displaced by the crisis in South Sudan was up to 201 000, including000 sheltering in ten UN peacekeeping bases. Seven of the ten States are affected by the current wave of armed violence with the most affected being Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile Sates.

The number of people who need life‐saving assistance such as health care and protection is deemed to continue to increase and the UN foresees a further increase in population displacement (up to 400 000 displaced) in the following weeks.

Priority populations are: children under five years of age, women who are pregnant or of childbearing age, people vulnerable to violence and sexual or gender‐based violence (SGBV).