•UNICEF and implementing partners distributed essential educational supplies (exercise books, pens, pencils, rulers, school bags, hygiene supplies) to 9,326 learners (including 3,989 girls) in 13 schools in Eastern Equatoria. In Yambio teaching and learning materials, including students’ kits and other supplies were distributed to 6,380 children (3,334 girls; 3046 boys).
•Additionally, all 32 released children from opposition forces in July 2019 have begun receiving reintegration services in their communities through coordinated case management services.
•In 2019, no suspected cases of cholera have been reported. Cholera prevention activities continue to mitigate the risk of cholera outbreaks in hotspots. UNICEF and partners have reviewed the cholera preparedness plan for 2019 in readiness for expected events in the country.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
While humanitarian access continues to be more open and predictable in 2019 since the signing of the peace agreement, this month there were several critical incidents that hindered UNICEF’s and partners’ ability to provide services to vulnerable women and children. In Aweil, fighting between the South Sudan United Front (SSUF) and the SSPDF lead to the suspension of access outside of Aweil town into other parts of the state, hampering programme activities. Similar clashes also took place outside of Raja, leading to the restriction of humanitarian missions outside of the town. In Maiwut county, clashes between the SPLA-IO and members of the Ciewaw community forced the displacement of 33,000 people, the suspension of programmes and the evacuation of staff. The conflict between the SSPDF and NAS in Central Equatorias also continues to limit access to an estimated 10,000 displaced and other vulnerable people in Otogo, Mugwo, Wudabi and Lujulo payams.
Heavy rains and poor road infrastructure have caused large parts of Upper Nile and Jonglei to become inaccessible by road. Despite opportunities to move by air and river, this only provides a solution for some locations. As a result, various programme activities have to be scaled down or suspended. For example, the provision of supplies, training and oversight is not possible at six of 17 schools UNICEF supports in Baidit and Jalle payams despite their proximity to Bor town. UNICEF and partners also faced several issues of operational interference. In Fangak, a health partners assets and compound were seized by SPLA-IO authorities and forced to leave the location. In a separate event, the authorities also forced the temporarily closure of a partners’ nutrition activities after demanding higher incentives for health workers and to handover a portion of their supplies to the authorities. However, upon further consultative meetings with the authorities, and nutrition and health partners, nutrition service has resumed in the area.
Continuation of improved access conditions since early 2019 will largely depend on developments leading up to the formation of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) in November. If a sufficient security force can be trained to provide security in Juba and Riek Machar returns, it is possible that favourable access conditions will prevail in the medium term. Paradoxically, positive indicators of restored peace in the country may spur returns, giving rise to disputation over land rights and access to resources and services, with the resulting insecurity limiting access. UNICEF and partners will also continue to face a range of bureaucratic impediments and operational interference from both government and opposition authorities.
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted in August 2019, 6.35 million people (54 per cent of the population) are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity, among whom an estimated 1.7 million are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity and 10,000 people are in Catastrophe (IPC phase 5). Compared to the same period in 2018, there is a five per cent reduction in the proportion of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity. In the period of September to December 2019, seasonal harvests become available with an estimated 4.54 million people (39 per cent of the population) likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity. Projection of January to April 2020, the food security situation will deteriorate and an estimated 5.5 million people (47 per cent of the total population) are likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity. The drivers of the child malnutrition are mainly sub-optimal child care and feeding practices driven by food insecurity, high morbidity, poor water and sanitation. Only 13 per cent of children aged 6-23 months received minimum dietary diversity, 23 per cent of them received minimum meal frequency, whereas only 7 per cent of them received minimum acceptable diet. Two out every five children aged 6-59 months reported fever two weeks prior to the survey, which is usually associated with malaria. Furthermore, 25 per cent and 22 per cent of the children reported diarrhoea and respiratory infection during the same period. Access to sanitation in the county is also very poor with only 21 per cent of the households across South Sudan reportedly with access to latrines.