Based on the September IPC analysis, it is expected that 6.1 million people (59% of the total population) faced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity at the peak of the lean season (July – August), of whom 47,000 were in Catastrophe (IPC phase 5) and 1.7 million were in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Food security has improved slightly with the green harvest in September relative to July and August, and further improvements are expected in the post-harvest period between October and December 2018 when the number of people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse is most likely to reduce to 4.4 million (43% of the total population), with 26,000 in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). However, an anticipated earlier than normal start of the lean season will result in an estimated 5.2 million (49% of the total population) people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity between January and March 2019, with 36,000 in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). These estimates are in the presence of planned humanitarian food assistances.
In September 2018, it is expected populations are in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Leer and Mayendit (former Unity state), Yirol East and Yirol West (former Lakes state), Canal/ Pigi (former Jonglei state), Panyikang (former Upper Nile state), and Greater Baggari in Wau (former Western Bahr El Ghazal state). In October - December 2018, Catastrophe (IPC phase 5) outcomes are expected in Leer and Mayendit (former Unity state), Pibor (former Jonglei state), Panyikang (fomer Upper Nile state) and Greater Baggari in Wau (former Western Bahr El Ghazal state). In January - March 2019, Catastrophe is expected in Pibor and Canal/Pigi (former Jonglei state) and Leer and Mayendit (former Unity state).
Of greatest concern are counties where harvests are likely to be poor; access to humanitarian assistance may be limited for a section of the population; possible returns from within and outside of the country may cause further pressure on already scarce resources; insecurity, lack of freedom of movement and extreme depletion of livelihoods prevails. As a result, extreme levels of acute food insecurity are expected to persist in many areas. This calls for immediate and unhindered provision of humanitarian assistance and close monitoring.
The overall situation of acute malnutrition has slightly improved this year as compared to the same period last year with no county reporting extreme critical levels (GAM above 30%) of acute of malnutrition in 2018. A total of 31 counties in the former states of Warrap, Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei reported ‘Critical’ (GAM (WHZ) 15.0 – 29.9%) levels of acute malnutrition while 20 counties in Lakes, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile reported ‘Serious’ (GAM (WHZ) 10.0-14.9%) levels of acute malnutrition. Most of the counties for which county-level data was available in Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria recorded ’Alert’ (GAM (WHZ) 5.0-9.9%) and ‘Acceptable’ (GAM (WHZ), <5.0%) levels of acute malnutrition.
The level of acute malnutrition is attributed to severe food insecurity, poor access to health and nutrition services, high morbidity, extremely poor diets and poor sanitation and hygiene. Levels of acute malnutrition are expected to improve marginally between October and December 2018 due to the seasonal availability of local production, increased availability of fish and milk, and relatively better access to markets and key services. However, levels of acute malnutrition are expected to deteriorate in the first quarter of 2019 with an early onset of the lean season as most households are expected to deplete food stocks from own production.