Famine (IPC Phase 5) remains likely in the absence of assistance
An estimated 5.3 million people, 48 percent of the population, are currently facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity, despite the harvest and continued, large-scale assistance. Compared to past IPC analyses, this is the highest proportion of the population to be in need of emergency humanitarian assistance during the post-harvest period, and the first time no area is classified in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
In the most likely scenario, which assumes typical seasonal deterioration and the continuation of humanitarian assistance at planned levels, widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are still expected. Humanitarian assistance is likely to prevent more extreme outcomes in many areas. However, assistance is expected to meet less than 50 percent of the estimated need, and access to other food sources will be extremely low throughout the lean season. Based on this projection and the severity of acute food insecurity during the 2017 lean season, it is likely some households will be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) during the upcoming lean season even in the presence of assistance.
In a worst-case scenario of a persistent absence of food assistance over a large area, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely because this absence of assistance would remove a primary food source and would likely drive increased levels of conflict over remaining scarce resources. In turn, higher levels of conflict would increase movement restrictions, preventing households from accessing food from other sources. Given current food security outcomes and past conflict trends, areas of greatest concern include central and southern Unity, northwestern Jonglei, and Wau of Western Bahr el Ghazal. However, given the volatile nature of the current Emergency, and that food security can deteriorate rapidly among populations who face extreme movement restrictions, Famine (IPC Phase 5) remains possible in many areas of the country.
Given the continued risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) and projections of extreme levels of acute food insecurity throughout 2018, large-scale humanitarian assistance above levels currently planned is needed urgently to save lives. Further, assistance should be complemented with unhindered humanitarian access and action to end the conflict.