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Crisis in South Sudan
South Sudan is facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity, as nearly 4.9 million people – about 40 percent of the country’s population – remain in urgent need of food assistance. The outlook for the remainder of 2016 remains dire. Humanitarian partners released an update to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis in June, which indicated a significant increase in food security and malnutrition compared with the same period last year.
Food shortages, a deepening economic crisis, insecurity and insufficient agricultural production at household-level have caused increased levels of food insecurity and alarming levels of acute malnutrition. Conflict has spread to new areas, further disrupting livelihoods and increasing the occurrence of displacement (over 2.5 million people have fled their homes since the outbreak of violence in 2013).
While famine has not been declared at any level, the IPC warns that the risk of famine looms especially in isolated areas of Unity where conflict and other factors can quickly and dramatically increase.
Following the flare-up of violence in the country’s capital in July, FAO warned that continued instability could derail the already fragile peace process and drive the millions of people already facing hunger to the brink of catastrophe. The second planting season was missed in some counties due to insecurity – this is bound to have an impact on food security in the short and longer term. Going forward, ensuring humanitarian access will be critical.
FAO and partners’ efforts in humanitarian assistance have reduced the number of people in Crisis and Emergency Phases. However, adverse weather, insecurity and insufficient funding continue to hinder deliveries. FAO will continue to scale up its support to both respond to urgent needs triggered by the current crisis, as well as continue to protect livelihoods and uphold programmes in less-affected states.
As part of FAO’s Emergency Livelihood Response Programme for 2016, in the worst-hit states (Central and Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Unity and Upper Nile), the Organization 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 Western Equatoria), FAO is concentrating on protecting and boosting food production by improving local availability of quality seed and planting materials and facilitating technology transfer through farmer field schools.
The risk of livestock disease outbreaks has been heightened by the conflict as the cold chain system for vaccine storage and distribution has broken down, 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 raise concerns about increased cattle raiding.
FAO is distributing vaccines and veterinary supplies to enable rapid preventative vaccination campaigns, while equipping and retraining community-based animal health workers to provide basic, on-the-move health care to migrating herds. Distributions are ongoing and FAO is ensuring that conflict-affected populations have what they need to farm, fish and protect their livestock.
FAO’s response programme has been made possible thanks to the generous support from the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, the Swiss Confederation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, the European Union, the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund and additional allocations of unearmarked funding by FAO.