A collapsed bridge in Kenya along the main supply route to southern Sudan significantly affected food deliveries in May. Heavy rains in April made roads in Kenya impassable and had already reduced deliveries by over 30 percent. These stoppages are expected to limit households' ability to cultivate in the June-September cropping season.
Heavy rains towards the end of May signalled a timely start to the June-September rainy season, triggering planting in the northern Bahr El Gazal region, and raising fears of early flooding. Rainfall forecasts up to mid-June indicate a possible extension of patterns similar to those experienced at the end of May. Though planting has started, some households do not have sufficient seeds.
Poor livestock conditions are expected to improve following the rains in May. However, the situation in parts of Pibor has deteriorated after poor rains in April and May. The first indications of worsening conditions were highlighted in March. Livestock deaths were first reported in April, and were confirmed critical in May. Although rainfall and vegetation started improving towards the end of May, about 20,000 people were already affected. FAO has planned and mobilized livestock interventions to take place during June.
Peace talks, ongoing since October last year, have increased confidence in security among northern Bahr El Gazal populations. As a result, movement of traders between north and south Sudan has increased. Also, the southern Sudanese population has started accessing markets in the Government held towns in the south.
An outbreak of yellow fever in parts of Eastern Equatoria region in April had killed 27 people by May 26. The World Health organization and other agencies have planned vaccinations for at least 210,000 people in the immediate areas. This could affect labor available during cultivation.
1. Overview of Current Food Security Status
June and July fall in the midst of the hunger season in most of southern Sudan, and there is increased evidence of malnutrition in places like Gogrial, Latjor, and parts of Bieh. Although the contribution of relief food to households' food baskets has remained significant in most of the highly food insecure areas this year, heavy rains in Kenya have cut off main supply routes of relief items, significantly disrupting deliveries to southern Sudan. It now appears unlikely that food aid requirements for May and June will be met, and as a result, households in the most food insecure areas, such as Gogrial, Latjor, Bieh, Pibor, Aweil East and Aweil South, are likely to reduce cultivation activities. Because of the extended effects of this gap, high rates of malnutrition are likely to persist even after the harvest in September and October.
In areas where the June to September cropping season is relevant, significant amounts of rain fell towards the end of May, raising hopes of a timely cropping season. However, some households in Phou, Liech, Bieh, and Aweil West may not have acquired enough seeds for planting in June. Agencies had identified this shortfall and responded but did so inadequately. As of April, a significant proportion of households in these areas did not have sufficient seeds in stock.
The situation in the April to July cropping areas of Western and Eastern Equatoria is varied in terms of food security. While most areas remain relatively food secure, there are emerging or continued concerns. The biggest concern is the deteriorating food security situation in Lokongole area of Pibor County, where above normal number of livestock deaths are still being reported. Livestock agencies, led by FAO, have made plans to intervene. Further details are provided below.
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