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South Sudan Early Warning Outlook – January 2014
Following the outbreak of the conflict, the Integrated Phase Classification undertaken by the Food Security and Livelihood Cluster indicated up to 7 million people in South Sudan are estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in the coming months. FAO state coordinators have since continued gathering information on indicators for the month of January. According to the first reports, the food security situation in the most affected states in South Sudan is dire.
FAO, the state ministries and food security partners collected information on trends prices of staple commodities, agro-meteorology, crop and livestock conditions, conflict, and nutrition indicators for the country’s ten states. Because of the ongoing insecurity the data could not be verified and validated by the Food Security and Livelihood Cluster partners in all states, as is normally the case for early warning reports. However, the outlook remains a strong indicator of the food security situation across the country.
Most affected states
Jonglei, Unity State and pockets in Upper Nile are most severely affected by the ongoing conflict. Although data on the food security situation in these states was difficult to collect and sometimes incomplete, the information gathered indicates that both livestock and crop production have been severely affected by the insecurity.
Lesser affected states
The food security situation is more stable in states not directly affected by the conflict. However, the influx of IDPs in some areas of these states has increased the pressure on the host communities.
Despite the overall positive outlook, the situation is expected to deteriorate. In February, traders from Uganda threatened to stop all trade due to unpaid dues by the government. If this happens, coupled by the shocks of insecurity on prices, a further increase in prices will be felt by already struggling food insecure households and IDPs.
Any delay in land preparation will cause a delay in crop sowing. The main staple crop planting season starts in March and farmers urgently need to return to their fields to be able to plant in time, but due to the security situation this seems to be unlikely for the most affected states.
The recruitment of youths in the military across the country may also have an impact on labor force needed for food production. The success of the main planting season will be critical for the long-term food security in the country.