NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
People in South Sudan Requiring Humanitarian Assistance
2018 Humanitarian Response Plan – December 2017
People in Need of Food Assistance in South Sudan
IPC Technical Working Group – January 2018
1.82 million IDPs in South Sudan OCHA – January 31, 2018
Individuals Seeking Refuge at UNMISS Bases UNMISS – March 1, 2018
Refugees and Asylum Seekers from South Sudan in Neighboring Countries UNHCR – February 15, 2018
Refugees from Neighboring
Countries in South Sudan
UNHCR – February 28, 2018
In late February, the South Sudan Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Technical Working Group reported that approximately 5.3 million people faced severe levels of acute food insecurity during January, a 40 percent increase compared to January 2017. Famine is possible in South Sudan without unfettered and robust humanitarian assistance, according to the IPC analysis.
On March 6, the U.S. Government (USG) announced an additional $184 million in humanitarian assistance for the South Sudan response, including $145 million for interventions in South Sudan and nearly $39 million for life-saving assistance to South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries. The new funding comprises more than $107 million from USAID/FFP, nearly $17 million from USAID/OFDA, and more than $60 million from State/PRM
On February 26, the South Sudan IPC Technical Working Group reported that approximately 5.3 million people—nearly half of South Sudan’s population—experienced Crisis—IPC 3—or worse levels of acute food insecurity in January, with approximately 1 million people facing Emergency—IPC 4—levels.5 The severely food-insecure population represents a 40 percent increase compared to January 2017. The IPC analysis forecasts that food security in South Sudan will continue to deteriorate through July 2018 due to extreme macroeconomic instability and disrupted agricultural production resulting from conflict and population displacement. Famine in South Sudan may occur in 2018 if planned humanitarian assistance does not reach populations in need, the IPC Technical Working Group reports.
On February 13, USAID/FFP partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) transported approximately 500 metric tons (MT) of emergency food assistance via river barge from Upper Nile State’s Renk town, near the Sudan–South Sudan border, to the state’s Malakal town. The delivery represents the first time since December 2014 that WFP has used the river corridor to transport emergency food assistance between the two towns. WFP continues to explore new river transportation routes, which provide the UN agency flexible and cost-effective options to deliver life-saving food assistance.ns from both government and opposition forces, including in Unity’s Koch County and several parts of Central Equatoria. The Troika Heads of Mission—Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States—condemned the recent clashes between government and opposition forces in South Sudan.
INSECURITY, DISPLACEMENT, AND HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
Continued clashes in Jonglei State prompted approximately 9,750 internally displaced persons (IDPs) to flee to Upper Nile’s Ulang County from January 1–February 5, according to a non-governmental organization (NGO) assessment. The assessment also identified acute health, nutrition, and protection needs due to assistance gaps and widespread displacement. IDPs reported limited access to functioning latrines, lack of food, and risk of sexual and gender-based violence. In February, NGOs reported that access constraints and bureaucratic impediments had delayed rapid responses to emergency needs among displaced populations in Ulang.
Clashes among armed groups in Yei County’s Makaia town, Central Equatoria State, displaced more than 3,360 IDPs to nearby Yei town between January 1 and February 19, according to the UN. Increased population movement to Yei town follows the January 26 establishment of a UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) temporary operating base in the town. Relief organizations are responding to increased need in Yei town by providing emergency food, health care, and shelter assistance to IDPs. However, IDPs in the area reported ongoing protection concerns, such as child abuse, family separation, and high levels of sexual and gender-based violence.
Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) elements denied passage to aid workers at a checkpoint in Western Bahr el Ghazal State’s Lokoloko town in early February, citing incorrect documentation, the UN reports. SPLA forces granted the humanitarian staff passage after the team returned several days later with additional documentation, including a letter from the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GoRSS) Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and a copy of the November 2017 presidential decree calling on armed actors to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access in South Sudan. In addition, armed elements near Unity’s Bentiu town continued to operate unauthorized checkpoints and harass commercial vehicles transporting humanitarian cargo as of early March, according to the UN.
USAID/OFDA recently provided approximately $1.5 million in FY 2018 funding to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to support coordination, information management, and humanitarian advocacy and financing activities in South Sudan. The new funding brings total USAID/OFDA assistance for OCHA in South Sudan to $4 million from FY 2017–2018.
FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION
A combination of local crop production and humanitarian assistance since September 2017 has prevented worsening of food security in 17 counties and mitigated the risk of Famine in five counties, including in the Greater Baggari area in Western Bahr el Ghazal, the IPC Technical Working Group reports. Despite continued humanitarian assistance, populations in 71 out of South Sudan’s 86 counties are expected to face Crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity between May and July 2018. Furthermore, populations in 11 counties—including Jonglei’s Ayod, Fangak, Nyirol, Pibor, and Uror counties, Unity State’s Koch, Leer, Mayendit, and Panyijar counties, Upper Nile’s Longochuck County, and Western Bahr el Ghazal’s Wau County—could face Famine if humanitarian actors are unable to continue delivering humanitarian assistance in the coming months.
Despite adequate rainfall during the 2017 planting season, cereal production in 2017 decreased nearly 8 percent compared to 2016, representing the lowest cereal production since the current conflict began in December 2013, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The UN agency projects the crop deficit to worsen during 2018, with crop production expected to be an estimated 482,000 MT below average—more than 25 percent higher than the 2017 crop deficit. FAO reports that conflict in 2017 disrupted livelihoods activities for farmers and reduced the average area of land planted per household, particularly in Central Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal, where harvested areas decreased by nearly 50 percent and more than 25 percent, respectively.
Approximately 76 percent of households in the vicinity of the capital city of Juba were food insecure and only 20 percent were consuming acceptable quantities and types of food as of late 2017, according to the recently released Juba Urban Food Security and Nutrition Study, which was conducted by UN agencies, NGOs, and the GoRSS. The assessment concluded that families in Juba remain highly dependent on markets to purchase food and the country’s ongoing economic crisis has reduced household purchasing power and restricted access to food. Nearly 50 percent of surveyed households reported using more than 65 percent of total household expenditures on food, while 35 percent reported relying on emergency coping strategies—such as consuming seeds or selling productive assets—to afford food. The assessment also identified GAM levels of more than 10 percent in Juba—similar levels compared to assessments conducted in 2015 and 2016.
USAID/FFP recently provided more than $107 million in emergency food assistance to support the humanitarian response in South Sudan. The USAID/FFP contribution includes nearly $75 million, including 36,000 MT of U.S. in-kind food aid, to support WFP’s emergency food assistance operations across South Sudan. USAID/FFP also provided approximately $17.8 million to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to support the provision of emergency food assistance in Jonglei. In addition, USAID/FFP provided approximately $14.4 million—including 1,170 MT of ready-to-use therapeutic food—to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support life-saving nutrition interventions that treat children younger than five years of age facing severe acute malnutrition.
HEALTH AND WASH As of March 1, health actors had recorded 34 suspected meningitis cases, including 15 related deaths, in Torit County’s Imvrok and Iyire payams, Eastern Equatoria, according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO). Approximately 95 percent of the population in Torit ages 1–29 years received meningitis vaccinations during a national campaign in 2016. However, relief actors report limited health services in the affected area and note that some households in the county are hesitant to seek assistance at health care facilities due to a preference for traditional medicine. Relief organizations are coordinating with local health authorities to scale up response efforts in Torit.
In February, increased measles transmission in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State prompted the declaration of an outbreak in Aweil Center and Aweil East counties, according to the UN. On February 13, health organizations in Aweil Center recorded three confirmed measles cases and two related deaths, resulting in the declaration of a measles outbreak. By late February relief actors in Aweil East had recorded 11 suspected cases of measles, including three confirmed cases, resulting in the declaration of an outbreak, WHO reported. The GoRSS Ministry of Health is coordinating response activities, including information campaigns, case management, and a reactive vaccination campaign. In response to the measles outbreaks, NGOs are bolstering disease surveillance activities in the two counties and plan to integrate nutrition screenings, Vitamin A distributions, and deworming activities in future vaccination campaigns, according to the UN.
Health actors reported 32 suspected cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF), including five related deaths, between December 7, 2017 and February 18, 2018, according to WHO. Despite decreasing levels of human transmission attributable in part to public awareness campaigns, livestock transmission continues. The majority of RVF cases affect small ruminants, leaving female-headed households—commonly reliant on goats and sheep rather than large ruminants such as cattle—more vulnerable to food insecurity, according to USAID health advisors.
USAID/OFDA recently provided $3 million in FY 2018 funding to UNICEF to support multi-sector humanitarian interventions across South Sudan. Among other activities, the USAID/OFDA funding will support the commodity pipeline of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian WASH activities, comprising UN agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders. With USAID/OFDA assistance, UNICEF will facilitate distribution of emergency WASH supplies, such as water containers and water purification tablets, to populations in need, while helping to mitigate the risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases during the May-to-September rainy season.
From February 19–20, USAID staff, including USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) members, traveled to Upper Nile’s Aburoc and Kodok towns to assess humanitarian conditions and response efforts and meet with partner organizations and affected populations. The trip represented the first USAID visit to Aburoc since widespread violence prompted large-scale population displacement in the area during early 2017. In Kodok, the USAID team observed the efforts of USAID/OFDA partner World Vision to mitigate sexual and gender-based violence and other protection risks through provision of safe drinking water. World Vision is operating a water treatment system near the Nile River, which provides a safe place for women to collect water. In addition, the NGO is rehabilitating boreholes in Kodok, reducing the distance women must travel to access safe drinking water and thereby minimizing exposure to armed elements.
USAID staff, including DART members, visited Upper Nile’s Malakal town on February 14 to observe humanitarian conditions and relief activities in the town and nearby UNMISS protection of civilians (PoC) site. According to UNMISS, approximately 15,000–20,000 people are residing in Malakal town; however, the USAID team witnessed limited market activity during the mid-February visit. In addition, approximately 24,400 people were sheltering at the PoC site as of late February, according to the UN. Despite congested conditions, the USAID team observed comprehensive and well-organized humanitarian services in the camp. Communities within and outside of the PoC site in Malakal continue to depend on humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, such as access to health care services, safe drinking water, food commodities, and nutrition assistance.
In Malakal, the USAID team visited a USAID/South Sudan-supported school and observed a USAID/OFDA–supported project that addresses food security, livelihoods, and WASH needs. In the PoC site, USAID staff visited a USAID/OFDA-supported health clinic, WASH facility, and psychosocial support center, as well as a USAID/South Sudan-supported youth center, library, and school.
On February 6, the Government of Japan announced approximately $26 million in new humanitarian funding for the South Sudan response, which will support 16 NGOs to deliver emergency food, health care, nutrition, protection, and WASH interventions across the country. The Government of Japan is also providing an additional $8 million to assist South Sudanese refugees sheltering in neighboring countries.
CONTEXT The January 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the southern-based SPLA officially ended more than two decades of north–south conflict during which famine, fighting, and disease killed an estimated 2 million people and displaced at least 4.5 million others within Sudan. In July 2011, South Sudan became an independent state following a referendum earlier in the year.
On December 15, 2013, clashes erupted in Juba between factions within the GoRSS and quickly spread into a protracted national conflict. On December 20, 2013, USAID activated a DART to lead the USG response to the crisis in South Sudan. USAID also stood up a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team (RMT) to support the DART.
On February 20, 2017, the IPC Technical Working Group declared Famine levels of food insecurity in Unity’s Leer and Mayendit counties. On June 21, 2017, the IPC Technical Working Group declared that sustained humanitarian interventions had moderately improved food security conditions in Leer and Mayendit, resulting in the removal of the Famine level designation for acute food insecurity in the counties. Life-threatening food insecurity continues to impact households across South Sudan.
On October 19, 2017, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Michael K. Morrow redeclared a disaster in South Sudan for FY 2018 due to ongoing violent conflict, population displacement, restricted humanitarian access, and disruption of trade, markets, and cultivation activities, all of which have significantly exacerbated food insecurity and humanitarian needs.