Cumulative years of conflict, associated displacement and heavy flooding during the third and fourth quarters of 2019 have resulted in high humanitarian needs in Upper Nile State (UNS). Information gaps on humanitarian needs in UNS exist due to different regional dynamics and access challenges throughout the state, resulting in barriers to humanitarian programming.
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 settlements and triangulated with focus group discussions (FGDs). This situation overview uses this data to analyse changes in observed humanitarian needs between January and March 2020 across UNS. In this reporting period REACH covered all counties in UNS with the exception of Longochuk and Maiwut.
• Whilst reported access to food remained relatively stable in March in central and northeastern UNS5 with 59% of assessed settlements reporting adequate access to food, food security in Ulang County reportedly deteriorated to the point where malnutrition was the most common reported cause of death in March (47% of assessed settlements up from 29% in December).
• WASH6 and health needs remained high across UNS compared to the previous reporting period. In northeastern and central UNS 48% of assessed settlements reported not washing their hands at all in March, and 59% reported no functioning health facility within walking distance.
• This quarter, no large-scale displacement was recorded, while 84% of assessed settlements reported the presence of refugee returns, marking an increase compared to last quarter. Increases in the proportions of assessed settlements reporting internally displaced people (IDPs) across northeastern and central UNS may be a delayed consequence of the flooding in quarters three and four of 2019, while a decrease in the proportion of assessed settlements reporting IDPs in Panyikang County was likely due to the improving food security situation.
• Reported protection concerns remained low in most of UNS, however, in southeastern UNS, the proportion of assessed settlements reporting that most people did not feel safe most of the time was much higher, at 70%.
• In March only 19% of assessed settlements with a reported the presence of IDPs reported any IDPs living without a shelter, mainly in southeastern UNS