UNICEF South Sudan Humanitarian Situation Report - September 2019

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

Highlights

• On 17 September, 21 children associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAG), all boys, were released in Aweil East.

• UNICEF supported the government in organising International Day of Girl Child under the theme "educate a girl to change a nation" in Malakal,
Rumbek and Yambio in the last week of September to create demand for girls’ education in the country.

• On 26 September, A Facilitator’s Manual for Psychosocial Support (PSS) in Child Friendly Spaces, Schools and Communities and trainers guides and a Practical Guide for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Girls Formerly Associated with Armed Forces and Groups were officially launched by UNICEF.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

Ongoing clashes between the South Sudanese People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) and the National Salvation Front (NAS – a non-signatory to R-ARCSS) continue to impede UNICEF and partners programme activities in southern Central Equatoria. This month, intense fighting occurred along the Yei-Maridi road and in Lainya county. In Lainya, these clashes resulted in the suspension of UNICEF supported nutrition outreach activities in Bereka targeting 1,000 children and prevented an additional programme visit to the area. In Yei county, a supervisor for the UNICEF supported PHCC in Lasu was killed, leading to the temporary closure of the facility. The fighting also prevented a planned monitoring visit of UNICEF WASH activities in the area.

In the short to medium term, access conditions will largely depend on further implementation of R-ARCSS. If a stable transitional government can be formed in November and the issues of a unified armed force and the number and boundaries of states are resolved, the resulting positive security and political climate will further improve the delivery of services to children. However, this will also give rise to larger IDP and refugee returns and potentially disputes over land and resources, straining service delivery and undermining security. Bureaucratic and operational constraints will also likely continue due a weak economy, the infrequent payment of government salaries and the lack of financial transparency.

Yet uncertainty remains regarding the peace process. The unification of forces has stalled due to the lack of services and resources for the cantonment and training of forces, and there is disagreement over both when and how to resolve the boundaries issue. Even if a transitional government is formed, the failure to conclude these other key provisions increases the likelihood of renewed localized hostilities – particularly in parts of Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal and in the Equatorias. This, in turn, would cause increased displacement and humanitarian needs while also hindering access. This potentiality is exacerbated by the presence of non-signatory groups – now aligned under the South Sudan Opposition Movement – who are likely to provoke further clashes and/or create incentives for discontent minority groups and commanders to defect to their ranks.

Floods are a chronic and acute problem in South Sudan exacerbating needs in areas where populations are affected by multiple concurrent shocks. Seasonal flooding during rainy season in South Sudan is a fact of life for many communities, and “normal” flooding is dealt with through coping mechanisms. Since July, South Sudan has experienced unusually heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. The seasonal forecast of the National Meteorological Department predicted above normal rainfall from the third quarter of 2019. Elevated rains beginning in the third quarter brought increased malaria cases, incidents of drowning, disruption of basic services and infrastructure damage. Seasonal flooding experienced since June 2019 is much more significant than normal due to the effects of climate change, a stronger than usual positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has emerged with a greaterthan-average rise of sea-surface temperatures in the western part of the Indian Ocean, off the east African coast, resulting in greater evaporation and increased precipitation inland throughout eastern Africa. The IOD’s current positive phase it as its strongest since 2006.

According to the August 2019 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted, 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) has increased significantly from 13.3 per cent in 2018 to 16.2 per cent in 2019 which is above the 15 per cent emergency threshold. According to the IPC acute malnutrition (AMN) projection analysis, seasonal improvement of the nutritionalsituation is expected during the harvest and post-harvest period due to availability of food stock at household, 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 children are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020 including close to 292,000 children with SAM.