Saving Lives in South Sudan

How USAID is providing water, health and nutrition to people in need

For more than four years, fighting in South Sudan has driven millions of people from their homes, destroyed infrastructure and critical resources, and left communities facing life-threatening hunger.

Renk County is one of the areas affected by this ongoing conflict. Located along the border with Sudan, it currently hosts three displacement camps.

Though the area is hard to reach, we have a Disaster Assistance Response Team inside South Sudan, working with partners such as Medair, to get aid to the thousands of people who now call these camps home. Meet just some of the people we’re helping, including one woman who is making a difference in her own community.

More than 5.6 million in South Sudan need access to safe water. / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Medair

Water for Waka’s Family

Waka Shonge makes her way towards a water point in Abayok Camp, which is home to about 5,000 people.

Back at her shelter, the mother of 10 uses water filters that we provided to make sure the water is safe for her family to drink. This is critical to keeping Waka’s family healthy and helping to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera.

With ongoing conflict impacting access to basic services, USAID is providing safe drinking water, latrines and hygiene kits to prevent the spread of disease. / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Medair

Abuk: Dedicated to Keeping Her Community Healthy

Nearby, Abuk Ajang packs her bag with supplies for the day. The mother of five works as a community health volunteer — a job that has become vital to providing medical care to her neighbors.

Inside her bag, Abuk carries things like tape (left) to measure upper arm circumference and beads (right) that are used to count respiratory rates. / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Medair

Throughout the day, Abuk uses the training she received from our partner Medair to identify children who are possibly malnourished by measuring their upper-arm circumference. She also checks for illnesses like pneumonia by timing respiration rates and runs additional tests to ensure the health of the children in her community.

An estimated 5.1 million people in South Sudan are in need of vital health care. / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Medair

Helping Saber Grow Strong

In South Sudan, 6.3 million people are in need of food assistance and nearly 1.1 million children under age 5 are acutely malnourished.

Saber receives treatment at a nutrition center. / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Medair

Little Saber Joseph is one of them. He has felt the effects of crippling hunger. While the average 1-year-old weighs 20 pounds, Saber weighed just 8.4.

In addition to therapeutic and supplementary foods, USAID provides food, vouchers, and cash transfers to help fight hunger in South Sudan. / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Medair

At a nutrition stabilization center we’re supporting, he was fed Plumpy’Nut, a nutrient-rich peanut-based paste filled with all the vital nutrients he needs to recover and thrive.

“Saber was so severely sick when I brought him here,” said his mother Martha. “Now he is (getting) better.”

Just a few weeks later, Saber’s health improved enough for him to go home with his mother.

BEFORE and AFTER: After receiving 24-hour care at a USAID-supported nutrition center, Saber is well on his way to a healthier future. / Medair

Every month, USAID works with partners like Medair to reach 1.4 million people in South Sudan with critical humanitarian assistance.

Amid persistent conflict, it is stories like these that motivate our team to continue working with our partners to provide aid, and most importantly, help save lives.

Read more about USAID’s humanitarian efforts in South Sudan.

Follow USAID/OFDA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Follow Medair on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



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USAID Saves Lives

USAID Saves Lives

USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance saves lives on behalf of the American people.