South Sudan

South Sudan: Food insecurity situation still dire and widespread - IPC Alert, Issue 9, 6 November 2017


The food security situation continues to be hampered and deteriorating due to prolonged conflict, displacement, humanitarian access constraints, climatic shocks and macro-economic instability.

How Many & When

  • In September 2017, 6 million people were in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), which corresponded to 56% of the total population. As for October to December 2017, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance (IPC phase 3 and above) are expected to drop to 4.8 million (45% of the total population. However, this figure includes a doubled number of people classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) compared to the same time last year, and 25,000 people still experiencing catastrophic conditions and extreme food gaps.

  • By January-March 2018, 5.1 million (48% of the total population) people are estimated to continue to facing acute food insecurity, with 20,000 people in Humanitarian Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).


  • In September 2017, the areas of highest concern were the three former Greater regions of South Sudan. In particular, populations in Humanitarian Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) were observed in Nyirol and Ayod counties of former Jonglei;
    Kapoeta East of former Eastern Equatoria state; and Wau County of former Western Bahr el Ghazal state.

  • In October – December 2017, populations in Humanitarian Catastrophe remain in Ayod and former Wau counties. In particular, the situation is dire in the Baggari area of former Western Bahr el Gahzal. An increase of populations in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is observed particularly in Central Equatoria, Jonglei and Uppen Nile.


Severe food insecurity is affecting the population as a whole, with internally displaced persons (IDPs) being the most vulnerable.


Persistent insecurity and armed conflict have disrupted livelihood activities, affected market functionality and limited physical access to markets. In particular, the widespread conflict has brought nearly 2 million people to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. The worsening economic crises have resulted in high food prices, local currency devaluation and hyperinflation, which in turn eroded household purchasing power. In addition, an anticipated earlier-than-normal start of the lean season in many areas will further hamper people’s food security, impairing the very survival of the most vulnerable.

Acute malnutrition has worsened compared to the same period in 2016 and remains high in many parts of South Sudan.


Even though no county is classified in Famine (IPC Phase 5) in this IPC update, there are still people facing humanitarian catastrophe in the counties most affected by the conflict and insecurity. In the worst case scenario, given the severity of the food security and nutrition situation observed during the 2017 lean season, continued conflict, humanitarian access constraints, climatic shocks and macro-economic instability leading up to the 2018 lean season will likely result in Famine (IPC Phase 5) conditions in multiple locations across South Sudan.


Ensure humanitarian access to deliver assistance to populations facing the most severe conditions; In particular, immediate and unhindered provision of humanitarian assistance and close monitoring is needed in Greater Baggari.

Scale up an integrated intervention program, to reach those who are facing severe undernutrition, death and destitution in order to avert deterioration to famine levels.

Implement a standardized system to monitor population movements, in order to provide up to date documentation and mapping needed to plan humanitarian interventions

The SOUTH SUDAN IPC Process and next steps - The South Sudan IPC Technical Working Group (IPC TWG) undertook the IPC analysis in September 2017. Due to the high levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition prevailing in South Sudan, the IPC TWG requested the activation of the Global IPC Emergency Review Committee (ERC) to review the preliminary results. IPC ERC findings and conclusions were shared with the IPC TWG that has considered the ERC review to reach final conclusions. The final results were validated by the South Sudan IPC TWG and officially endorsed by the National Bureau of Statistics of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan.