In September, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Jonglei states experienced flooding as a result of heavy rains. UNICEF together with partners responded to over 20,000 households affected by the flooding in Northern Bahr el Ghazal with provision of supplies, including household water treatment products and water containers. However, the WASH sector continues to face a significant funding gap (54 per cent).
The nutrition situation in the country remains critical, despite the commencement of the harvest. In September, UNICEF was part of a multi-agency team that deployed to Baggari, Western Bahr el Ghazal, where reports indicated a deteriorating nutrition situation with global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates at 29.2 per cent. A total of 676 children received treatment for moderate and severe acute malnutrition.
During this reporting period, schools opened for the third and final term of this academic year. With a high number of new students returning to school, UNICEF has now passed its annual target of providing 300,000 children and adolescents with access to education in emergencies.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries has now passed two million people, 85 per cent of whom are women and children. High levels of insecurity and renewed clashes in several parts of the country is contributing to continued population displacement, both internally and across borders.
The nutrition situation in South Sudan remains critical despite the expectation that harvests are becoming available in most parts of the country. In the recently concluded Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring Systems (FSNMS) survey that was conducted during the peak lean season in July 2017, eight out of the nine states assessed showed global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates above the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency threshold of 15 per cent; the exception was Central Equatoria, which was found to have a GAM prevalence of 7.7 per cent. The prevalence in the other eight states ranged from 17.7 per cent in Northern Bahr el Ghazal to 23 per cent in Unity. Access in Western Equatoria state was heavily constrained due to insecurity; as such, the assessment could not be completed in this state. In Baggari in the outskirt of Wau town, Western Bahr el Ghazal, the proxy GAM in over 2,300 children screened surpassed the famine threshold of 17 per cent, with rates as high as 29.2 percent and a proxy severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rate of 10.5 per cent found in Mboro and Fazalla payams. A multi-agency response team reported that the death rate among children in the area is above the emergency threshold of 2.0 deaths per 10,000 people per day.
Cholera transmission is on the decline countrywide. In the last five weeks, cholera cases have dropped from at least 145 cases in week 31 of 2017 to 20 cases in week 38 of 2017. Since the onset of the outbreak on 18 June 2016, a total of 20,583 cases have been reported with 390 deaths (case fatality rate – CFR – 1.9 per cent) as of 24 September 2017 (week 38). Among these, 16,408 cases were reported in 2017 with 309 deaths (CFR 1.9 per cent). The number of counties with active transmission have declined from 14 to five counties during the reporting period (Juba, Central Equatoria; Budi, Kapoeta South and Kapoeta East, Western Equatoria; and Yirol West, Lakes), with most cases from Juba and Budi counties.
As per the first week of September, more than 1.57 million cases of malaria have been reported in South Sudan so far in 2017, compared to 1.2 million at the same time last year (WHO and South Sudan Ministry of Health, Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin, 11 September 2016 and 3 September 2017). Malaria accounts for 65 per cent of all illnesses reported in health facilities across the country. More than 77,500 people are infected every week, the majority of whom are children under the age of five years (WHO, 6 September 2017).