Through the first quarter of 2020, humanitarian needs in Western Equatoria State (WES) were impacted by displacement, insecurity, bush fires and emerging COVID-19 restrictions. Information remains critical for an informed response, yet movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 measures have limited humanitarian access to many areas across the region.
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 Western Equatoria in the first quarter of 2020.
In the first quarter of 2020, new displacement occurred in Maridi and Mvolo counties, reportedly mainly due to insecurity, while assessed settlements in WES as a whole continued to report a mixture of internal returns, refugee returns, and protracted displacement from past incidents of insecurity and hunger.
Food security reportedly continued to improve in most of the state, and only 4% of assessed settlements reported inadequate access to food in March; however, assessed settlements in Nagero, Maridi and Yambio counties reported access to food below the WES average.
Protection concerns were most commonly reported in the eastern counties1 in Q1; civilian deaths, looting, abduction and forced recruitment in Maridi County, and cattle raids and killing/injury in Mvolo County. For women, domestic violence was reportedly the main concern in WES in Q1.
Access to reliable shelter varied by county; while the majority of assessed settlements reported most host communities and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were living in solid shelters (98% and 84% of assessed settlements respectively), in Maridi, Mvolo and Nagero counties, IDP living conditions were reportedly much less stable.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and health needs were reportedly particularly high in Greater Mundri, where rivers were the most commonly reported source of drinking water, and a high prevalence of waterborne diseases and parasites and was reported in March.
While nearly all settlements assessed in the western counties reportedly had access to education within walking distance in March, half of assessed settlements in the eastern counties reportedly lacked access due to lack of facilities.