The share of the South Sudanese population facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or worse outcomes is projected to reach record-high levels in 20221 . FEWS NET expects 7-8 million people nationally will experience food consumption gaps, including 2.5-3.0 million people (20-25 percent of the population) who face large to extreme food consumption gaps consistent with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or worse. Sub-national conflict and insecurity, three consecutive years of catastrophic floods, and macroeconomic challenges have progressively eroded household capacity to produce or purchase food and cope with recurrent shocks. As a result, the severity of acute food insecurity has worsened compared to previous years.
Humanitarians’ ability to mitigate the severity of acute food insecurity in South Sudan is increasingly constrained by limited donor funding and the rising costs of procuring, transporting, and delivering food commodities. Out of necessity, WFP and partners are expected to prioritize food assistance distributions to the most severely food insecure areas, including but not limited to eight counties with households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). However, this leaves 3 in 4 acutely food insecure households to face hunger and acute malnutrition. Food assistance needs are expected to be highest in July-September, which overlaps the lean season’s peak and the heaviest period of the rainy season.
The areas of highest concern include central and northern Jonglei,
Pibor, central Unity, northern Lakes, and Warrap. Additionally, there are multiple counties where some households either have extreme hunger indicative of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) or food aid is likely mitigating the occurrence of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). These areas include: Fangak, Canal/Pigi, Uror, and Ayod counties of Jonglei; Pibor; Tambura County of Western Equatoria;
Cueibet and Rumbek North Counties of Lakes; Leer and Mayendit counties of Unity; and Tonj East County of Warrap.
FEWS NET assesses there is a credible, alternative scenario in which Famine (IPC Phase 5) could occur in South Sudan, especially in areas with large populations in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or higher. Fangak, Canal/Pigi, and Pibor remain among the areas of most extreme concern for a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5), with increasing, new concern for Leer, based on the severity of current food insecurity, the local population’s very high vulnerability to new shocks, and the likely exposure to severe floods and/or renewed conflict in 2022. Funding for a scaleup of food and nutrition assistance, supported by unhindered humanitarian access to conflict- and flood-affected areas, is required to save lives and livelihoods and end the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in South Sudan.