South Sudan Crisis External Update #2, July 21, 2016

from International Medical Corps
Published on 21 Jul 2016

Situation Overview

The situation in Juba, South Sudan, remains quiet following the July 12 ceasefire that halted a week of fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)—loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir—and First Vice President Riek Machar’s forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO). More roads are accessible, and the presence of military personnel and checkpoints has visibly decreased. Shops are beginning to reopen as people are moving about the capital. The humanitarian community continues to monitor the situation closely, as tensions in Juba and other parts of the country remain high.

Commercial air traffic at Juba International Airport (JIA) has resumed, and the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)—operated by the UN World Food Program (WFP)—has restarted some passenger and cargo flights as security and flight safety assurances (FSAs) allow. As of July 19, WFP reported receiving necessary FSAs for its fixed wing aircraft flights; helicopter movement remained restricted, severely limiting the movement of humanitarian workers and supplies in areas inaccessible by airplane.

Relief organizations are continuing to assess the humanitarian impact of the recent violence in Juba. Estimates for overall displacement resulting from the crisis vary upwards of 30,000 people, with a significant number reported to have already returned home. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) entered UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) sites—UN House and Tongping base—to escape the violence, with thousands of additional IDPs seeking shelter elsewhere. At UN House, an estimated 28,000 registered IDPs were residing in the protection of civilian sites (PoCs) 1 and 3 prior to the crisis; official counts now indicate nearly 40,000 IDPs are present. International Medical Corps staff and other relief actors at the PoCs note that the actual number of IDPs may far exceed that figure.

Conditions within the UN House displacement sites—especially PoC 3— have become extremely overcrowded, placing further strain on already stretched sanitation infrastructure and increasing the likelihood of outbreaks of preventable diseases. Moreover, food remains scarce, with too few markets available and food selling at high prices. WFP and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warehouses in Juba were looted during the recent conflict, impacting the availability of stocks. Throughout the city, actors are reporting an increase in cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), particularly among women and girls.

On July 17, South Sudan’s Ministry of Health flagged an increase in suspected cholera cases in Juba and other parts of the country. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), at least 112 people in Juba were being treated for suspected cholera as of July 20. International Medical Corps and other relief organizations are coordinating closely on health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions to mitigate the spread of the disease and provide treatment to those in need.