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 (TWG) reported that a record 6.1 million people required food assistance in the July–August peak of the lean season, nearly 60 percent of the country’s population. Widespread conflict continues to undermine food security, as well as displacing communities, disrupting livelihood activities and impeding humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.
The IPC TWG warns that 47,000 vulnerable people in parts of Jonglei, Lakes, Unity and Upper Nile states, as well as in Western Bahr el Ghazal’s Greater Bagarri area, are facing Catastrophe (IPC 5) levels of acute food insecurity due to poor harvests, conflicts and lack of humanitarian access.*
According to the IPC TWG, food security has improved slightly due to the September green harvest, as well as relatively better access to markets and key services. However, limited access to humanitarian aid due to fighting and insecurity, and an influx of South Sudanese returnees could put a strain on already scarce resources, especially in early 2019.
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.