UNICEF South Sudan Humanitarian Situation Report - November 2019

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 30 Nov 2019

Highlights

  • An estimated 490,000 children are still at risk from the impact of flooding that washed away crops, destroyed homes and contaminated water supplies. UNICEF has appealed for US$ 10 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and women affected by the floods in South Sudan.

  • The 2019 South Sudan Certificate of Primary Education examinations took placed between 25-29 November 2019. UNICEF and partners worked to ensure exams were delivered to 55,193 children (22,350 girls; 32,843 boys) across South Sudan including in In-Opposition (IO) controlled areas.

  • From January to November, 221,893 children affected by SAM were treated with high quality services, representing 85 per cent of the annual SAM burden.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

Since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018 the country has experienced more stability and improved access to previously hard-to-reach locations, yet the operating environment continues to hinder secure, consistent and principled humanitarian access to vulnerable women and children. Bureaucratic impediments and operational interference persist in many parts of the country and inter-communal violence and hostilities continue to inhibit humanitarian programming. Given the onset of the dry season, incidents of inter-communal violence associated with cattle raiding and hostilities between the government and NAS are likely to intensify. Fighting between the SSPDF and NAS continued in Central Equatoria, and in Rumbek.

Inter-communal violence forced UNICEF staff to seek shelter during the fighting. Clashes in the Bentiu PoC and outside of Pibor also led to the temporary suspension of humanitarian services affecting over 10,000 children in need.

Future access conditions will hinge on developments with the R-ARCSS. If a stable transitional government is formed and a unified armed force and the number and boundaries of states are resolved, the resulting positive security and political climate will improve the delivery of services to children. At the same time, this will also likely lead to increased returns, giving rise to disputes over land and resources, straining already limited service delivery and undermining security. However, there is still uncertainty regarding successful implementation of the peace agreement. Despite the recent extension of the pre-transitional period for 100 days, the unification of forces has stalled and the deadlock over how to resolve the boundaries issue persists. There are also reports of government efforts to recruit armed fighters outside of the unification process and fighters abandoning cantonment sites. If substantive progress is not made soon, there is a high likelihood of localized and limited scale hostilities – particularly in parts of Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal and the Equatorias – which could also provoke a wider confrontation. This would cause increased displacement and humanitarian needs while hindering access. This potentiality is exacerbated by non-signatory armed groups, who are likely to provoke further clashes and create incentives for discontent groups and/or commanders to defect to their ranks.

The humanitarian caseload due to multiple risks remains high. About two thirds of the country’s population remains in need of humanitarian assistance (51% females, 49% males) and this high caseload is likely to continue in 2020, illustrating the multi-faceted nature of the causes of the protracted humanitarian needs in the country. The widespread impact of flooding is still being felt among over 900,000 people, including 490,000 children who reside in most affected states - Greater Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Greater Equatoria. By the end of November, more than 100,000 flood victims accross South Sudan had received lifesaving assistance from UNICEF since the beginning of the crisis in the end of October 2019. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted in August 2019, an estimated 4.54 million people (39 per cent of the population) are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity in September – December 2019. The prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) increased significantly from 13.3 per cent in 2018 to 16.2 per cent in June/July 2019 which is above the 15 per cent emergency threshold. According to the IPC AMN projection analysis, seasonal improvement of acute malnutrition situation is expected during the harvest and post-harvest period due to availability of food stock at household levels, reduced morbidities of childhood illness as well as marginal improvement in infant and young child feeding practices. However, due to high prevalence of acute malnutrition experienced at the peak lean season, improvement will be marginal. A total of 1.3 million are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020 including close to 292,000 children with SAM.