In 2017 the UN declared South Sudan to be in a state of famine, marking an end to a six year period of a world without famine. The last successful harvest was in 2015 and more than 5 million people will be affected, over half the population of the country.
A severe drought and a civil war have exacerbated the hunger. The fighting has blocked aid routes and there are widespread allegations of President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s government corrupting funds meant to alleviate a suffering population. Days after famine was declared, the government, looking to increase funds from aid workers, raised the cost of a business visa from $100 to $10,000. After sustained international pressure this legislation has been overturned.
As fighting between government and rebel forces continue to escalate and the numbers of people dying of hunger related diseases climbs, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing to neighbouring Uganda and Kenya. For South Sudan it is not just a famine they must contend with: the UN is now calling the situation the ‘fastest growing refugee crisis in the world’.
Louis Leeson is a reportage photojournalist with a background in documentary film. He studied at the London College of Communication from 2009 to 2012 where he received a First Class BA (Hons) in Photojournalism. Louis works in the UK and internationally for feature film, editorial, and humanitarian organisations. He shoots long-term investigative projects and has covered the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, FGM in The Gambia, and the refugee crisis engulfing Europe and the Middle East.
Louis’ work has been published in the Guardian, the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, the Mirror, the International Business Times, Al-Jazeera, Vice News, Broadly, Huck, Nowness, Grazia, Marie Claire, Save the Children, War Child, and more. Louis is represented in the by the picture agency Eyevine.