With the confirmation of Rift Valley Fever (RVF), in Yirol East, Lakes State, UNICEF has been providing support in the overall coordination of investigation and response activities being carried out by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) through a multi-sectoral taskforce. UNICEF launched a media and community risk communications campaign people with information on risk factors, symptoms and preventive measures.
The severe food insecurity and nutrition situation remains with the lean season anticipated to begin in February, three months earlier than previous years. The risk of famine remains high in locations with extended absence of humanitarian assistance due to access constraints and insecurity. Over 1.1 million children are acutely malnourished and need assistance in 2018.
Cholera transmission has declined significantly, with no new cases reported in 2018.
UNICEF in coordination with partners have continued to expand capacity in hotspot locations including contingency planning for an anticipated seasonal increase in March 2018.
South Sudan remains a country of increasing needs, with 7 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Increasing severe food and nutrition insecurity, diseases (measles, Cholera, and malaria), and economic crisis compound this situation. Continued conflict will lead to further deterioration of the situation.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In January, there were reports of RVF in Yirol East, Lakes state. RVF is a viral fever-causing disease most commonly observed in domesticated animals such as cattle, with the ability to infect and cause illness in humans. There were 26 suspected human cases including three deaths. Samples from both suspected human cases and animal cases have been taken for laboratory testing in Uganda, and results are pending. UNICEF has been providing support in the overall coordination of investigation and response activities being carried out by the MoH and WHO through a multi-sectoral taskforce that is meeting at least three times a week at the national level, and daily in Yirol East. Additionally, UNICEF took swift action in launching media and community risk communications campaigns, including developing RVF reference tools and pictorial flyers with information on risk factors, symptoms and preventive measures. These materials have been disseminated by 28 trained community mobilizers, deployed at the payam level to record cases, and conduct community surveillance. Dinka-language radio programmes have also been intensively broadcast in community radio stations.
The severe food insecurity and poor nutrition situation prevailed in January, and is likely to persist well into 2018. It is expected that most households who harvested have depleted their stocks this month, three months earlier than was typically the case in pre-crisis years. As a result, the 2018 lean season will be starting earlier than usual, and food security is expected to further deteriorate through the peak of the lean season in July/August. Given the expected very low food access during this time, there remains a risk of famine (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Phase 5) in a worst-case scenario, especially with prolonged lack of humanitarian assistance due to access.
Lack of sustained access continues to constrain operations and could lead to deterioration in the already-severe food insecurity situation. In Koch, Unity State, the lack of sustained access in the reporting period was heavily restricted due to insecurity. Insecurity led to the cancelation of two planned Integrated Rapid Response Mechanism missions (IRRMs) to Dolo and Raja, in Western Bahr el Ghazal. The supplies dispatched for delivery to these locations we rerouted to Wau to enable further scale up of operations in the Greater Baggari area.