UNICEF South Sudan Humanitarian Situation Report #105, 1 - 15 March 2017
• Food security levels in the country remain critical, with famine declared in southern Unity state at the end of February. Access restrictions to affected areas is limiting the ability of the humanitarian community to respond. UNICEF and WFP dispatched five rapid response teams to southern Unity in late February/early March to provide immediate, lifesaving assistance to affected populations.
• The security situation in certain areas of Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Greater Equatoria remains volatile due to ongoing clashes. High levels of insecurity are expected to persist through the dry season.
• The cholera outbreak in South Sudan appears to finally be receding, with only 15 new cases reported countrywide in the past week.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
People in counties of southern Unity state continue to suffer from severe food insecurity, with the situation likely to continue to deteriorate until at least July 2017. Leer and Mayendit counties are currently experiencing famine, and there is a risk of famine in Koch County. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update, approximately 100,000 people currently face starvation in Leer and Mayandit counties, while one million are on the edge of famine. An estimated 5.5 million people in South Sudan (47 per cent of the population) are projected to be severely food insecure at the height of the 2017 lean season between May to July 2017, and over 1.1 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished this year.
The famine-affected and threatened areas have also seen an increased incidence of illness, especially acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malaria. There is an increasing demand for healthcare services, however some facilities have been deserted as the communities move closer to available water sources. On top of this, there has been an increase in cattle raiding as communities try cope. Health facilities have been looted and there has been an increase in casualties in need of medical assistance.
The recent assessment mission to Kapoeta, Eastern Equatoria in mid-February found the overall food security and livelihods situation to be at a critical level as a result of two consecutive years of minimal rainfall that led to total crop failure. The area is the only location in South Sudan currently estimated to be in a drought situation. At the time of the assessment, all water points in the counties were being shared by humans and livestock, while many schools in rural villages were closed due to non-attendence by students, with hunger among children being cited as the reason. The poor food security situation is exacerbated by the ongoing economic crisis and high commodity prices in the markets. Additionally, unprecedented levels of cattle raiding has led to a lack of access to milk and meat for the Toposa pastoral community, the main inhabitants of Greater Kapoeta.
The security situation in certain areas of Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Greater Equatoria remains volatile as violent clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA – in Opposition (SPLAiO) continue. Armed skirmishes are expected to continue in the coming months until the end of the dry season. In addition, increased levels of cattle rustling is contributing to the high levels of insecurity in some areas.
Wau town continues to experience a critical water shortage as the Wau Urban Water System remains closed due fuel for operation being unavailable. Meanwhile, the water situation in Juba has improved as a result of increased access to fuel. Two water treatment plants are now operating at about 50 per cent capacity, and water trucking to the UN House Protection of Civilians (PoC) site is ongoing.
The number of cholera cases reported in the country remains low, with only 15 new cases reported in the past week, originating from Yirol and Malakal. Since the beginning of March, 91 new cases have been reported from Awerial (Lakes), Bor (Jonglei), Rubkona (Unity), Yirol East (Lakes) and Malakal (Upper Nile).
Since the cholera outbreak first began on 18 June 2016, a total of 5,574 cholera cases and 137 deaths have been reported, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 2.46 per cent. Overall, Yirol East has seen the highest number of deaths out of all the affected counties, despite the first cholera case in the county only being reported on 3 February 2017. Since then, 342 cases and 31 deaths have been reported, for an overall CFR of 9 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of measles cases in the country is rapidly declining, with only 11 new cases reported in the past two weeks.