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Crisis in South Sudan
Almost 900 000 people have been displaced by violence in South Sudan since mid-December. The signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement on 23 January has raised hopes of a return to normal; however, tensions remain and few people have shown signs of returning to their homes.
Despite continued constraints to humanitarian access, FAO is scaling up operations to meet the two-fold challenge of responding to urgent needs triggered by the current crisis, while continuing vital livelihood protection and support programmes in less-affected states. As the rainy season nears (beginning in March and fully underway by May), time is running out to pre-position supplies in strategic hubs before rains cut off large parts of the country.
Up to 7 million people are now estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in 2014, according to the revised Integrated Phase Classification undertaken by the Food Security and Livelihood Cluster in January. Of these, 1.1 million face “emergency” and 2.1 million face “acute” food insecurity – more than triple pre-crisis estimates. A further 500 000 IDPs are also at risk of severe food insecurity.
Signs are beginning to emerge of a major food security crisis as food reserves are exhausted in areas isolated by the conflict and markets in Juba see soaring prices for staple foods (sorghum) and run out of key commodities (powdered milk, sugar). Abandonment and looting of livelihood assets, disrupted agricultural cycles, constraints to aid access, collapse of local markets, disruption of commodity supply corridors and the risk of a missed planting season (March-July) are raising concerns of worsening food availability and access problems throughout 2014 and into 2015.
In the worst-hit states (Upper Nile, Jonglei, Unity, and Central and Eastern Equatoria), FAO is focusing on distributing emergency livelihood kits (including crop and nutrient-dense vegetable seeds and minimal-harm tools), while in calmer states (Northern and Western Bahr el-Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes), FAO will focus on protecting and boosting food production by improving local availability of quality seed and planting materials and facilitating technology transfer through farmer field schools.
Riverine communities, particularly IDP populations that are likely to face repeat displacement as flooding accompanies the rainy season, will particularly benefit from FAO’s provision of fishing kits (twine, nets, etc.) to facilitate fish capture, storage and marketing. Urban gardening will be promoted among IDP and host community populations, along with the use of vouchers to link small-scale vegetable, fish and milk producers with nutritionally vulnerable people.
The risk of livestock disease outbreaks has been heightened by the conflict as the cold chain system for vaccine storage and distribution has been hard hit by looting and lack of maintenance, and non-traditional livestock movements lead to the intermingling of vaccinated and unvaccinated herds. Unusual livestock movements and concentrations also risk worsening tensions between pastoral and farming communities, as well as raising concerns about increased cattle raiding.
FAO is planning to immediately pre-position vaccine and veterinary supplies to enable rapid preventative vaccination campaigns, while (re-)equipping and retraining community animal health workers to provide basic, on-the-move health care to migrating herds.
Under the UN and partners' Revised South Sudan Crisis Response Plan (January-June 2014), FAO is seeking USD 77 million to provide urgent assistance to almost 400 000 families. A further 150 000 households are receiving support under FAO’s existing resources.
In Million USD