South Sudan Food Security Outlook Update, April 2018
Recent rapid assessment indicates Catastrophic (IPC Phase 5) outcomes in Pibor
Food security has further deteriorated in Pibor and it is possible that more than 20 percent of households are in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). In an assessment conducted by REACH in March/April, 24.3 percent of households reported a Household Hunger Scale of six, indicative of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) and a significant increase from already severe hunger reported in late 2017. In October 2017, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM (WHZ)) was 26.8 percent (22.8-31.2), somewhat below the Famine (IPC Phase 5) threshold of 30 percent. A SMART survey, which will collect representative nutrition and mortality information, is likely to be conducted. Urgent humanitarian assistance is needed in this county to save lives.
Relatively less information is available on Kapoeta East, though given similarities between Pibor and Kapoeta East in terms of livelihoods and conflict, as well as ground reports that indicate food security has further deteriorated, there is also extreme concern for this county. Hunger and acute malnutrition were already high in December, when 80 percent of households reported moderate HHS and ACF reported a GAM (WHZ) prevalence of 24.0 percent (19.0-29.8). Some households may also be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Kapoeta East and urgent humanitarian assistance is needed in this county.
Also of high concern are central Unity and Nyirol. In central Unity, conflict has caused a new wave of displacement and prevented the delivery of humanitarian food aid. In Nyirol, a SMART survey conducted in March found a GAM (WHZ) prevalence of 25.7 percent (21.9-30.0), and a SAM (WHZ) of 6.6 percent (4.6-9.3).
Humanitarian assistance during the first quarter of 2018 reached a smaller percentage of the need than in previous years, as the growth of the population in need is outpacing response. A significant increase in the provision of humanitarian assistance, above planned levels, is needed to prevent more households from falling in to Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). In addition to Pibor and Kapoeta East, areas of high concern include central and southern Unity, northern Jonglei, and Greater Baggari.
In the protracted absence of assistance over a large area, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely as the absence of assistance would remove a primary food source and likely drive increased conflict over remaining scarce resources. In turn, higher levels of conflict would increase movement restrictions, preventing households from accessing food from other sources. Given that large-scale food assistance has not been delivered between January and March, this worstcase scenario may already be occurring in Pibor and Kapoeta East. Although the above-mentioned areas are also of high concern, given the volatile nature of conflict 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.