Food Security Situation Update

This update covers the period of June - July 2018 and is endorsed by FAO, UNICEF and WFP in South Sudan

Persistent conflict, disruption of livelihoods, poor economic conditions and challenges faced in the delivery of humanitarian assistance have pushed nearly 60 percent of the population into severe acute food insecurity during the peak of the lean season (June-July), when food shortages are typically at their worst levels.

More than six million1 people are facing “Crisis” or “Emergency” levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4). This represents a close to 20 percent increase compared to the same period (June-July) in 2017, even accounting for refugee outflow.

Areas affected by armed conflict during the planting season of April-June are of particular concern, especially where such livelihoods disruption has been recurrent for several years. It will be difficult for households in these areas to realize a harvest, if any, and the possibility of extreme food insecurity through to January 2019 will remain.

Call for urgent access to Greater Upper Nile region for assessments and lifesaving interventions Of particular concern are Leer and Mayendit counties in former Unity State, Greater Upper Nile region, where people are displaced and facing physical threats when they try to move, including recurrent attacks throughout the current agricultural season. The population has been cut off from humanitarian assistance since mid-April; however, since mid-July, small scale humanitarian interventions and sporadic assessments have resumed. As famine was declared in these two counties in February 2017 and the key food security drivers have not been addressed, the situation remains extremely fragile.
Other areas of heightened concern due to increased insecurity and lack of access include: the wetlands border of northern Jonglei and central and southern Unity; Greater Baggari sub-area in Wau, Raga in Western Bahr el Ghazal; Yirol East, Yirol West, and Rumbek North in Lakes state.

The need to end violence across the country, and to allow for unhindered, safe access to all areas affected by conflict, remains extremely critical. South Sudan has seen an increasing number of attacks on humanitarian actors and in June, 59 access-related incidents were reported, of which about 60 percent involved violence against humanitarian personnel or assets.

Impact of displacements The protracted conflict has forced 4.5 million South Sudanese from their homes by mid-July 2018, drastically reducing their capacity to sustain their livelihoods. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) increased from 189, 000 in 2013 to 2 million in July 2018 (out of these, 202, 043 are living in Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites). Refugees in neighbouring countries increased from 387, 000 in 2014 to 2.5 million in July 2018 and are expected to reach 3.1 million by the end of December 2018 due to conflict related displacement and migration in search of food.
The majority of recent displacements have occurred in the Greater Equatoria region, where the highest agricultural production is typically seen. The level of need among displaced communities continues to grow with each year that the conflict goes unresolved.

As the majority of South Sudanese have agriculture-based livelihoods which cannot be maintained once displaced, these communities become extremely vulnerable. Failure to keep agricultural production at the same levels is not only driven by conflict-related displacements but also general disruptions to livelihoods and markets, lack of access to social services and restricted trade due to roads made inaccessible by insecurity and the current rainy season. Immediate action to maintain and save livelihoods will have lasting impact; access to farming, fishing and livestock-safeguarding inputs and services have the potential to significantly improve food security.