UNICEF and partners supported the release of 311 children (87 girls) associated with armed groups in Yambio, Western Equatoria state – the first release by any armed group in South Sudan in almost three years. These children are being supported to reintegrate back to their communities. This is the first phase of a process that is expected to see 700 children released from armed groups and forces in Yambio in the coming months.
South Sudan declared the end of its longest and largest cholera outbreak, which began in June 2016, with no new cases of cholera reported in over seven weeks. UNICEF and partners contributed to the efforts to overcome this outbreak through a range of prevention and response activities, including treating cholera patients and promoting good hygiene practices.
The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis was released in late February, and confirmed that in the absence of all forms of humanitarian assistance, up to 6.3 million people (57 per cent of the population) would be in Crisis (IPC phase 3) or Emergency (IPC phase 4) from February to April, including 50,000 people in hard-to-reach areas showing catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) conditions.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The longest and largest cholera outbreak was declared at an end, with no new cases of cholera reported in over seven weeks. The outbreak was first declared on 18 June 2016 and spread to many parts of the country, including Juba. By the time the last confirmed cholera case was discharged in December 2017, 20,438 cholera cases and 436 deaths had been reported. With the approaching rainy season, new cholera cases are likely to be reported.
After extensive negotiations with state and local authorities and local groups, UNICEF and partners supported the successful release of a total of 311 children associated with armed groups, including 87 girls, the largest number released in the country in nearly three years. The release was marked by a ceremony in Yambio, in Western Equatoria state, where the children were formally disarmed and provided with civilian clothes. This is the first phase of a process that is expected to see 700 children released from armed groups and forces in Yambio in the coming months.
The IPC food security update in late February confirmed that the food insecurity and nutrition situation in South Sudan remains of grave concern and is projected to significantly deteriorate as the lean season sets in.
In the absence of all forms of humanitarian assistance, some 6.3 million people (57 per cent of the population) are facing IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) levels of food insecurity in February to April.
This figure is projected to rise to 7.1 million people (65 per cent of the population) in May to July.
Out of this food insecure population, 50,000 people are estimated to be in IPC Phase 5 February to April, and this figure is expected to rise to 155,000 people in May to July.
These are, and will be, the highest levels of food insecurity ever experienced in South Sudan, with virtually every community in the country in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The depletion of food stocks and the early onset of the lean season due to conflict-related displacement and agricultural disruption are expected to exacerbate this outlook, and the poor nutrition situation is expected to deteriorate greatly as the lean season sets in around May/June. The risk of widespread famine (IPC Phase 5) remains extremely high in a worst-case scenario, especially with conflict-related restrictions to population movement and lack of sustained humanitarian assistance due to access constraints.