Despite a period of relative stability since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in late 2018, humanitarian needs remained high across South Sudan through 2019. The cumulative effects of years of prolonged conflict, chronic vulnerabilities and weak essential services left 7.2 million people—two thirds of the population—in need of humanitarian assistance or protection. Women and children continued to be the most affected.
At the height of the hunger season between May and July, nearly 7 million people were estimated to be acutely food insecure. This was the highest number recorded since the conflict broke out in 2013. Acute malnutrition exceeded global emergency thresholds. Nearly 4 million people remained displaced: 1.7 million of them internally and 2.2 million as refugees across six neighbouring countries. Although many South Sudanese cautiously explored options to return home, conditions were unsustainable for voluntary returns in safety and dignity.
In July, South Sudan was hit by abnormally heavy seasonal flooding. Over the following months, the floods affected more than 908,000 people and destroyed crops on an estimated 74,000 hectares of cultivated land. The Government declared a State of Emergency in the affected areas, which were experiencing high humanitarian needs already before the flooding.
The outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo triggered active surveillance of the disease across the border with South Sudan. No confirmed cases were reported in the country.
As armed conflict was contained to few areas primarily in the Equatorias and Upper Nile, the operating environment for humanitarian organizations improved. Humanitarians were able to reach previously inaccessible communities, and cost-efficient movement by road and river increased by 10 per cent from 2018. At the same time, bureaucratic access impediments increased from the previous year, as detailed in the 2019 Humanitarian Access Overview.
By the end of the year, more than 5.3 million most vulnerable people were reached with humanitarian assistance through the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Achievements included more than 4 million people reached with food security and livelihood support; nearly 2 million people assisted with emergency health care services; and over 1 million people supported with protection, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene services respectively. Over half of the HRP partners were South Sudanese non-governmental organizations.
The humanitarian response was enabled by generous donor contributions. The response plan was 75 per cent funded, with US$1.1 billion received toward the $1.5 billion appeal. This included $28 million channeled through the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and $80 million disbursed through the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.