South Sudan: Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Updated August 8, 2018
After more than four years of civil conflict, South Sudan remains one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. The IPC Technical Working Group reported that 5.3 million people required food assistance in January, an increase of 40 percent from the same time last year. Food security deteriorated through July 2018, as widespread conflict continued to displace communities, disrupt livelihood activities and impede humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.
The UN warned in July that a sustained absence of humanitarian assistance due to fighting in central Unity State’s Koch, Leer and Mayendit counties could push up to 55,000 vulnerable families into Catastrophe (IPC 5) acute food insecurity in those locations.*
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) anticipates most parts of South Sudan will continue to face Crisis (IPC 3) and Emergency (IPC 4) food insecurity through January 2019 and warns that disrupted delivery of humanitarian assistance could result in Famine (IPC 5) conditions in the worst-affected parts of the country. Many households will deplete their 2018 harvested food stocks by January 2019, which could trigger the onset of the lean season up to four months earlier than usual in some areas.
*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5). A Famine classification applies to a wider geographical location, while the term Catastrophe (IPC 5) refers to an extreme lack of food at the household level even with full employment of coping strategies. Famine is determined when more than 20 percent of households in an area are classified as experiencing Catastrophe, when the global acute malnutrition level exceeds 30 percent and when the crude mortality rate exceeds two people per 10,000 persons per day.
A sustained and unimpeded humanitarian response is critical to saving lives. Since the start of the conflict, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) and its partners—including the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)—have responded to the needs of South Sudan’s most vulnerable and conflict-affected populations through emergency food and nutrition interventions across the country. FFP-supported programs provide life-saving food assistance to 1.5 million people per month, on average.
FFP also partners with Catholic Relief Services to provide families in Jonglei State with emergency food assistance, expand access to safe drinking water, and implement livelihoods interventions, including providing agricultural training for farming households.
Additionally, with FFP support, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) helps food-insecure South Sudanese countrywide increase households food production with seed, fishing and tool kits. FAO also provides vulnerable families with food vouchers exchangeable at local markets, improving access to nutritious foods and supporting local economies.