In February, the humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate, culminating in the declaration of localized famine in Mayendit and Leer Counties in Unity on 20 February. Some 100,000 people are facing starvation. and a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine across the country. There are now 4.9 million severely food insecure people in South Sudan and this number is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July.
By the end of February, about 3.5 million South Sudanese people had been forced out of their homes, including about 1.89 million internally displaced and 1.6 million seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. An estimated 31,500 people were forced to flee advances by armed forces on the western bank in Upper Nile. In Jonglei, nearly 17,000 people were displaced by heavy clashes in Uror and Nyirol counties. In Central Equatoria, Kajo-Keji town largely emptied, with only around 400 people remaining in the war-torn town following renewed attacks, while some 30,000 people remained in the IDP sites in Liwolo. Cholera continued to spread and was confirmed in Bor South and Yirol East in February. The refugee outflow to neighbouring countries continued, with 66,000 people arriving into Uganda in February alone.
There was an increase in the number of humanitarian access incidents reported in February (70) compared to January (64). The incidents had a substantial impact on humanitarian operations, with aid workers relocated from famine-affected Mayendit County, and operations suspended in multiple locations. About 52 per cent of the reported incidents involved violence against humanitarian personnel and assets, reflecting an increase in armed attacks (6% of 64 incidents in January vs 11% of 70 incidents in February).
By the end of the month, humanitarians had reached more than 1.9 million people, out of 5.8 million targeted under the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). However, lack of early funding proved to be a challenge, with the US$1.6 billion appeal for 2017 for South Sudan just two per cent funded by the end of February. Timely funding in the first quarter of the year is particularly critical in South Sudan, where vast amounts of supplies must be pre-positioned before the rainy season begins in April.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.