• Intense fighting along the west bank of the Nile in Upper Nile has been persistent through the first two weeks of February, resulting in the displacement of the entire population of Wau Shilluk, some 30,000 people. Currently, 16,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in Renk, en route to crossing the border into Sudan.
• As South Sudan approaches peak lean season, a record five million people are expected to be food insecure. The country is deemed at risk of famine, and increased humanitarian access is essential in order to save lives. The regional drought in the Horn of Africa is contributing to a particularly harsh dry season, further exacerbating the situation.
• UNICEF continues to scale up cholera prevention and response services following a resurgence of cholera. Active transmission is now ongoing in six counties of Unity, Lakes, Jonglei and Central Equatoria states.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Fighting between Government and opposition forces continues in areas along the west bank of the Nile in Upper Nile, notably around Malakal and Wau Shilluk. The heavy clashes have caused the entire population of Wau Shilluk, an estimated 30,000 people, to be displaced towards Fashoda. An estimated 16,000 people are currently located in Renk, and are expected to move towards the border and cross into Sudan. The ongoing insecurity is restricting the ability of humanitarian actors to access most parts of the state.
Meanwhile, violence and looting continues to spread across Greater Equatoria, with approximately 52,000 people having fled to neighbouring Uganda in January alone. Tens of thousands of displaced persons are also seeking shelter in the towns, with many more hiding in bushes and swamps in remote areas. The displaced population is predominantly from areas in and around Yei, Morobo, Lainya and Kajo-Keji. The Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has expressed particular concern regarding the situation in Kajo-Keji; a significant part of the population has fled the area following attacks on civilians, looting and burning of villages. Access to the town and the surrounding area has been blocked.
South Sudan is facing the worst food insecurity levels seen since 2010. Food availability is being affected by cereal production deficits, extreme inflation (900%), insecurity, economic crisis and largescale population displacement, as well as by poor regional food supplies. The country is now approaching peak lean season, when a record over five million people are expected to be food insecure. Of greatest concern are the states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity, as well as areas of Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria. A report from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network released on 25 January gives a very bleak outlook for South Sudan in 2017, with some areas at risk of reaching levels of food insecurity associated with famine. In order to save lives it is essential that humanitarian access to key affected areas is improved.
As a result of seasonal dry weather, low water tables have heightened competing demands for water among humans and animals, and the scarce water sources available are being over-used. In Eastern Equatoria the regional drought is causing additional strain, with low food and water availability causing population displacements. While populations would traditionally move towards northern Kenya and Ethiopia, access to these routes are currently limited due to insecurity along the Ethiopian border and drought affecting the Turkana area of Kenya. With limited options for accessing water and food, populations are now under severe strain. The most significantly affected county is Kapoeta, where at least two adults, both women, were reported to have died from hunger as they were travelling towards Kenya in search of food. The dry season in South Sudan typically lasts from November until March, though may extend as far as until May. A prolonged dry season will have devastating consequences on the already limited water and food security in the country, and will likely result in drought conditions in several states. Extremely dry weather and drought is likely to result in increased inter-communal conflict as populations migrate in search water. This is aniticipated to be a particular issue in Jonglei state, which is home to a significan cattle-keeping community. Disputes traditionally arise as a result of competition for water and pasture for livestock.
Since the beginning of 2017 there has been a resurgence in the number of cholera cases reported.
Active transmission is currently ongoing in five counties; Rubkona (Unity), Mayendit (Unity), Awerial (Lakes), Bor (Jonglei) and Juba (Central Equatoria). Cumulatively, as at 10 February 2017, 4,935 cholera cases including 97 deaths (CFR 1.97%) have been reported in South Sudan since 18 June 2016. The current outbreak has lasted nearly eight months, compared to four months for the 2015 outbreak and seven months for the 2014 outbreak. Nonetheless, the case fatality for the 2016/2017 outbreak is lower than in 2014 and 2015, indicating that cholera awareness and response activities have been successful.