A two-year drought in southern Sudan provided the groundwork from which violence and repression would generate famine. The famine itself was a man-made natural disaster, the result of the continued civil war ravaging the region and violations of the rules of war by all sides. War disrupted the planting season and thousands were displaced by the fighting and raids on civilian villages. By late 1998 some 250,000 people in Bahr El Ghazal, many internally displaced, were at risk of starvation.
In the village of Ajiep, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) set up a feeding center to care for over 7,000 malnourished people. It was a microcosm of what was happening across the region as Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) struggled to feed the people most at risk.