Violence broke out in Juba on 15 December between Government and opposition forces and quickly spread to other locations in South Sudan. Almost five months later the security situation remains fluid, with insecurity particularly affecting Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity. Insecurity is likely to spread in coming months beyond these States.
Up to 25 April, more than 1.2 million people have been displaced by the hostilities, either within the country or in the neighbouring countries (see map 1). The dispersed nature of a majority of IDPs throughout remote areas and on-going conflict hampers humanitarian access. The protection of displaced people is further eroding amid persistent violence and ethnically targeted attacks, as witnessed in Bentiu and the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Bor.
There has been massive destruction of housing, hospitals have been looted and access to education remains restricted due to occupied school buildings by armed forces and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
It is estimated that over three million people are at immediate risk of food insecurity, and more than 90% of them are in States that are the worst affected by the crisis. The States with the highest levels of acute and emergency food insecurity are Jonglei (70% of a population of 1.7 million), Unity (65% of a population of 1.1 million) and Upper Nile (46% of a population of 1.3 million).
As South Sudan is entering into the rainy season, community coping mechanisms are severely stretched. Family food stocks normally run out during the hunger gap (May-August), leaving households in market dependent States Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile without food.
The average dates of onset of suitable conditions for land preparation and planting are mid-April to mid-May in Jonglei, late April to late May in Unity, and mid-May to late June in Upper Nile. Farmers are unable to start land preparation in areas far from their homesteads for fear of being attacked. This makes the food security/ nutrition outlook in these three States dire, particularly for children.
Acute respiratory infections, acute watery diarrhoea, and malaria currently account for the highest morbidity levels among IDPs in camps, and the likelihood of a cholera outbreak in the displacement sites is of serious public health concern with heavy rains approaching.