The civil war that broke out in South Sudan in 2013 has cumulatively triggered the displacement of nearly 2.2 million people internationally and 2 million internally over the last 6 years. However, when looking historically, populations in South Sudan have experienced episodic displacement for over 3 decades of conflict. Since the signing of the R-ARCSS in September 2018 the country has seen a decrease in episodes of large-scale displacement; however, localised displacement driven by various shocks and decreased resilience continues. The compounded negative impacts of repeated shocks and displacement have resulted in the deterioration of household (HH) resilience, heightened vulnerability and increased humanitarian need. Waves of displacement have caused higher IDP reliance on host communities, quicker resource exhaustion, loss of livelihoods and the depletion of HH assets, often either due to displacement or the assets were sold as a coping strategy to mitigate food insecurity. The January 2019 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) in South Sudan found that 6.17 million people, 54% of the population, were classified as facing Crisis (Phase 3) severe acute food insecurity or worse in January 2019, indicating their need for urgent assistance. However, given the frequency with which population movement happens in South Sudan, especially for highly vulnerable populations, it is essential for humanitarian actors to first understand where populations with high levels of need are located as well as the complex nuances of displacement and population movement in the country to identify and address the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
Displacement and population movement is actively tracked in South Sudan; however, there has been no attempt to contextualise current displacement with a historical lens by using the institutional memory of past humanitarian responses in South Sudan in tandem with current displacement data to better predict population movement following different types of shocks. This gap in knowledge reduces humanitarian actors’ ability to plan for early response or preposition aid in areas already identified as likely to receive influxes of IDPs.
REACH will use secondary data from the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) during the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) response, alongside current displacement data both from REACH and consolidated from other humanitarian organisations to develop a predictive Population Movement Baseline (PMB) for South Sudan. The study will draw on REACH’s widespread field presence in South Sudan, using its 15 field sites for both qualitative and quantitative data collection. This baseline will be created with the objective of getting a comprehensive understanding of displacement routes and needs of displaced populations following displacement to enable better humanitarian response planning along the routes and in locations expected to receive displaced populations.
The PMB will function in alignment with REACH’s Shocks Monitoring Index. Once the baseline has been completed it will be able to inform movement following shocks in South Sudan. In the event that a shock is identified on the Shocks Monitoring Index, the PMB map and database can be referenced to identify where, historically, people have moved following a similar type of shock, if the population or geographic region has experienced the shock in the past and if it has been tracked in the population movement database.