Reported humanitarian needs increased across Jonglei State throughout the first quarter of 2020. An early depletion of food stocks, limited access to livestock and increasing market prices resulted in widespread food insecurity. Moving forward, the existing humanitarian crisis could be exacerbated further by the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19. To inform humanitarian actors working outside formal settlement sites, REACH has conducted assessments of hard-to-reach areas in South Sudan since December 2015. Data is collected on a monthly basis through interviews with key informants (KIs) with knowledge of a settlement and triangulated with focus group discussions (FGDs). This Situation Overview analyses changes in observed humanitarian needs in Jonglei State in the first quarter of 2020.
• The proportion of assessed settlements reporting the presence of internally displaced persons (IDPs) remained stable this quarter (60% in March). This is probably related to the continuation of protracted intercommunal clashes. • Food security deteriorated further during the reporting period, with just 49% of assessed settlements reporting adequate access to food in March (68% in December 2019). This is likely a consequence of severe flooding which appears to have brought forward the onset of the lean season from March to January.3 Moving forward, heavy rains in the coming months may further reduce humanitarian access to extremely vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach areas.
• The proportion of assessed settlements reporting protection concerns remained stable, with 79% reporting most people felt safe most of the time in March. However, the protection situation in Uror and Nyriol counties appeared to have worsened in March, likely due to an increase in intercommunal violence
• Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs remained high and may be further exacerbated by COVID-19 as reported barriers to accessing clean water sources and functional healthcare services pose challenges to both the widespread implementation of World Health Organisation (WHO)4 handwashing practices and the accessibility of healthcare services.
• Access to reliable shelter seemingly varied by population group: 24% of assessed settlements reported the main shelter type for IDPs to be less solid structures, such as rakoobas5 or improvised shelters, while host communities reportedly mainly used solid structures for shelter (95%).