South Sudan



After decades of civil war, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9th July 2011. Despite great hopes that a new nation state would bring peace and security to the conflict-affected population, fighting erupted in the capital of Juba in late 2013 following an alleged coup attempt by the ousted vice-president, Riek Machar, against the president, Salva Kiir. Violence quickly spread throughout the country, escalating along ethnic lines. While a Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was signed in late 2018, the cumulative effects of conflict have left more than 7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 4.2 million people have fled their homes.

Approximately 1.9 million South Sudanese are now displaced within the country, including more than 200,000 people who have sought protection and assistance in the Protection of Civilians (POC) sites located within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) bases. More than 2.3 million have fled to neighbouring countries, making it the largest refugee crisis in Africa. The prolonged conflict has shattered the economy, causing hyperinflation and disrupting markets and supplies. Crop production and rural livelihoods have been devastated by conflict and the dependence on rain-fed agriculture for livelihoods means that South Sudan is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, experiencing both widespread and localised droughts and floods. As of January 2019, 6.17 million people (54% of the population) are facing acute food insecurity or worse and need assistance. The food crisis has reached such unprecedented levels that famine was declared in parts of Unity State in February 2017. Moreover, approximately 6 million women, men and children are facing protection risks due to widespread conflict both causing and compounded by the multiple shocks and stresses. Following forty years of armed conflict, South Sudan is also littered with small arms, unexploded ordnances (UXOs) and mines.

On top of the immense humanitarian needs of the South Sudanese population, the country is also hosting more than 300,000 refugees, primarily from Sudan, of which the majority are staying in refugee camps located in Unity and Upper Nile States where they are dependent on humanitarian support. In 2019, emerging needs include addressing growing housing, land and property issues and durable solutions, as well as preparedness and resilience capacity building.

About the program

DRC is operational in South Sudan since 2005, working with the overall aim of achieving durable solutions for displaced populations. The Danish Demining Group (DDG) started Humanitarian Mine Action in 2006.

Danish Refugee Council main program objectives (2018-2020) in South Sudan are:

  1. To save lives and alleviate suffering among displaced people and their hosts
  2. To reduce displacement related risks and support and facilitate solutions
  3. To promote peaceful, inclusive and resilient societies and address root causes to displacement

DRC primarily operates across Upper Nile and Unity states, both of which are heavily affected by conflict and experience high numbers of internally displaced populations as well as refugees in need of humanitarian assistance. DRC has operational bases in Maban, Malakal, Kodok and Aburoc in Upper Nile and in Bentiu, Mayom, and Ajuong Thok in Unity state, supported by a country-office in Juba.

DRC recently developed important multi-sectorial mobile response teams based in Juba able to rapidly respond to new and urgent humanitarian situations countrywide at short notice to conduct assessments and responses.

DRC’s Operations


Protection, including general protection monitoring to identify people at risk and vulnerable households; Individual Protection Assistance (IPA) according to identified needs; Gender Based Violence (GBV) projects, Housing Land and Property (HLP) and Access to Justice initiatives. Multi-sectorial protection-led rapid assessments to assist affected populations most in need and to support the humanitarian community in prioritizing and delivering frontline assistance.

Shelter and nonfood Services

Camp Management in six refugee camps (in Maban and Ajoug Thok), in Malakal PoC site and in Aburoc IDP Camp. Three Mobile CCCM (Camp Coordination and Camp Management) teams supporting IDPs or returnees in informal and spontaneous sites all across the country. 

Community Infrastructure & Services

Provision of emergency and transitional shelter within and outside of camp environments. Provision of camp/community infrastructure, including community centers, health clinics, solar lighting and educational facilities. 

Coordination & Operational Services

Distribution of Non-Food Items (NFIs) such as plastic sheets, buckets, blankets, mats and cooking utensils in out of camps via static and mobile responses. 

Food Security

Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) projects, including provision of seeds, tools, agricultural training and other initiatives to increase food production and decrease food insecurity amongst vulnerable households; cash for work activities to provide income during the lean season; and life-skills and vocational training programs to strengthen people’s capacities and income-generating opportunities.

Armed Violence Reduction

Armed Violence Reduction (AVR) activities, including Conflict Management Education (CME), Community Safety projects and conflict analysis to help strengthen community capacities, social cohesion and reduce the risks of local level conflicts (implemented by DDG).

Humanitarian Mine Action

Mine Risk Education (MRE) and removal of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) to improve safety and access for humanitarian agencies and beneficiaries (implemented by DDG).


Natural Resource Management (NRM) activities, including reforestation activities, establishing tree seedlings nurseries, the production of energy efficient stoves, and capacity building and empowering NRM community groups to support communities to adopt sustainable coping mechanisms and livelihoods. 


Deployment of international NGO Safety Advisors who support the entire humanitarian community with security briefings, situation analysis, trainings and access discussions. 

Partners and Donors

Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)

The European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)

Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

World Food Programme (WFP)