Urgent, sustained humanitarian food assistance is required to prevent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes
The scale and severity of acute food insecurity in South Sudan through January 2021 is expected to remain among the highest recorded since 2014. Urgent, sustained humanitarian food assistance beyond currently planned levels is required to save lives and protect livelihoods in the ongoing lean season and post-harvest periods. Unprecedented levels of inter-communal conflict, the macroeconomic crisis, recurrent flooding, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and preventive measures are leading to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and worse outcomes.
In August and September, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely in 25 conflict- and flood-affected counties where it is likely that high proportions of the population either have large food consumption gaps or are engaging in severe coping strategies in an attempt to mitigate food consumption gaps. Areas of greatest concern that need an urgent scale-up in food assistance include Pibor, Bor South, and Twic East of Jonglei; most counties in Warrap; Rumbek East and Rumbek Centre of Lakes; and Maiwut, Renk, Manyo, Panyikang, and Malakal of Upper Nile. Although planned and funded humanitarian food assistance will most likely prevent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in many areas through September, many households will continue to face food consumption gaps indicative of Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!). Outcomes could deteriorate quickly if the delivery of humanitarian food assistance is further disrupted by floods or insecurity.
From October to January, food security is expected to only marginally improve among households with access to the main and second-season harvests. With food assistance currently planned to scale down during this period, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely remain widespread as most rural households and many poor urban households will be unable to meet their minimum food needs. In conflict- and flood-affected areas where crop and livestock losses are highest and market access is low, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes will most likely persist. These include counties in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, Unity, and Lakes.
In areas where the level of conflict or flooding is severe enough to cut off or displace some households such that they are unable to access typical food sources or food assistance, Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) is likely, including in the post-harvest period. At-risk households are most likely to include those who do not own livestock, have limited to no access to arable land for crop cultivation, and have difficult access to functioning markets. While not the most likely scenario, Famine (IPC Phase 5) remains possible in a worst-case scenario in which at least 20 percent of the population in a given area is isolated from accessing food sources or food assistance for a prolonged time.