Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes likely persist despite ongoing consumption of green harvest
Many areas are continuing to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in South Sudan, despite the seasonal consumption of the green harvest in Greater Equatoria and seasonal increases in livestock productivity and fish and wild food availability more broadly. According to the May IPC analysis, an estimated 21,000 people are likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Canal/Pigi of Jonglei, Cueibet of Lakes, and Panyikang of Upper Nile during the July/August the peak of the lean season. In several counties of Greater Upper Nile, Greater Bahr el Ghazal, and parts of Greater Equatoria, ongoing humanitarian assistance is preventing more extreme outcomes. However, a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists.
Despite the implementation of the September 2018 peace deal, fighting between various groups, including the opposition and armed civilians, has been reported in parts of Maiwut of Upper Nile and Lobonok of Central Equatoria. Cattle-raiding in Panyijiarof Unity and Cueibet of Lakes have also led to loss of lives and livestock, while recent ambushes on the Kaya-Yei and Yei-Ombasi roads in Yei of Central Equatoria and on the Juba-Bor road in Central Equatoria and Jonglei have led to loss of lives and disruptions to trade flows. However, lower conflict in Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile is permitting greater household movement and engagement in typical livelihood activities and has encouraged the return of both internally and externally displaced populations. As of June 30, UNHCR reports that 47,602 refugees have returned to South Sudan since January, though not all returnees have returned to their place of origin. Of this number, 20,431 refugees returned in June. 22,000 internally displaced persons that were sheltering in protection of civilians sites in Wau have returned to their places of origin in Wau town and other locations.
In June, 2.03 million people were reached with general food distributions and food for assets programs, and this assistance continues to prevent more extreme outcomes at the peak of the lean season. In parts of Western Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile, household reliance on humanitarian food assistance has increased in comparison to recent months, as household movement in search of natural food sources and access to markets has become more limited in the ongoing rainy season. However, the total number of beneficiaries reached country-wide declined by approximately 10 percent compared to May, attributed in part to heavy rainfall and seasonal flooding that disrupted regular assistance delivery. This has contributed to deterioration in outcomes in parts of Greater Upper Nile and parts of Greater Bahr el Ghazal. Despite overall improvement in humanitarian access, including a steady decline in the number of incidents of restricted access, assistance remains significantly below the estimated need and lower than the same time last year.
Based on rapid market assessments conducted by FEWS NET in late July and early August, supplies of essential food commodities and the number of retail traders operating in Juba markets has increased relative to early 2018. However, staple food prices remain high due to multiple taxes in hub markets and effective household demand remains low. Rural markets continue to have low supply given deteriorated feeder road conditions and the impact of five years of conflict. In July, the retail price of white sorghum in Juba was 164 percent above the five-year average, though the price declined by 85 percent compared to July 2018. In Wau, the price of white sorghum was 131 and 267 percent higher than the July 2018 and five-year averages, respectively. Household purchasing power has slightly improved due to increased casual labor demand and an increase in the daily wage rate relative to last year. In Wau, the daily labor wage could purchase more than 15 kilograms (kg) of sorghum in July 2019 compared to 14 kg in July 2018. In Juba, where the price of sorghum declined relative to 2018, the daily labor wage could purchase around 15 kg in July 2019 compared to 7 kg in July 2018.
In August, green harvest consumption is ongoing in many parts of Greater Equatoria. In parts of Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria, however, the maize harvest is delayed to late August due to a 10-30 day delay in the onset of the rains. In Lakes, green harvest has also been delayed until late August/early September in several areas of Cueibet and Yirol East, while in Maize and Cattle livelihoods zone areas of Upper Nile, maize harvest is expected in September. In Greater Upper Nile and Greater Bahr el Ghazal regions, livestock have fully returned to their homesteads and access to livestock products has seasonally increased among households who own livestock. Additionally, fish and wild foods have become more available given the ongoing June to September rains, though in southern and north-western areas of Juba and in parts of Terekeke and Mangalla of Central Equatoria, access to these natural food sources continues to be limited by insecurity.
Based on satellite-derived estimates, rainfall during the June to September season has been normal to above normal to date. Exceptions include localized areas of Raja of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Ezo and Mundri East of Western Equatoria, and Terekeke of Central Equatoria, where rainfall is below normal. According to an Initial Rapid Needs Assessment conducted by humanitarian partners, flash flooding displaced more than 3,000 households and destroyed crop fields in Aweil Centre, North, and West of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Around 2,000 affected households have received humanitarian food assistance and 2,140 children and 910 mothers received nutritional supplements. In Jonglei, flash floods affected more than 6,500 households in Bor South, Duk, Twic East, Pochalla, and Ayod, destroyed crops, and significantly reduced trade flows from Bor South to these counties. Flood risk is expected to remain high through early September.
Food security outcomes through January 2020 are expected to be similar or slightly better than the same period last year due to some improvements in trade flows, expected slightly higher crop production, and improved household movement. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are still expected to persist in several areas. Additionally, a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) is also expected to persist. Data collection for the 24th round of Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System has been completed and will be used to inform the upcoming August 2019 IPC analysis, in which the South Sudan Technical Working Group will project acute food insecurity through December 2019.
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