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Crisis in South Sudan
Over 2.3 million people have been displaced by violence in South Sudan since mid-December 2013, including around 643 828 people who are sheltering in neighbouring countries. The security situation remains tense with sporadic fighting concentrated in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States.
Around a third of South Sudanese are now food insecure, and the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis carried out in September 2015 indicates that food security has deteriorated at an alarming rate since the outbreak of the conflict. Some 3.9 million people are now facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and the outlook for 2016 is dire. Of particular concern are the 30 000 people in Unity State who are experiencing a Catastrophe, which could to deteriorate to famine without immediate humanitarian access and assistance.
Acute malnutrition is expected to remain above emergency thresholds and food security remains critical. The food security situation should improve as the harvest season progresses, though improvements are likely to be lower than in typical years. Some 2.4 million people are expected to continue to face severe food insecurity through December, most of whom are in states most affected by the conflict. For the first time since the IPC was launched in South Sudan, a significant deterioration in food security can be seen in the Greater Equatoria States owing to a combination of market disruption, economic downturn, insecurity and localized crop failures. This has also led to record high food prices – up to 150 percent compared with the average – which has depleted household purchasing power across the country. Further challenges include abandonment and looting of livelihood assets, disrupted agricultural cycles, constraints to aid access, collapse of local markets and disruption of commodity supply corridors.
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 2015, 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.