While the signing of a peace agreement in September 2018 formally put an end to the conflict in South Sudan, the humanitarian situation remains dire.
The multidimensional crisis is characterized by continued violence, severe food and nutrition insecurity, economic upheaval and disease outbreaks. Over 4.5 million people have been uprooted, including 2 million people who are internally displaced and 2.5 million people who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.
An estimated 1.5 million people are located in areas with extremely limited humanitarian access due to insecurity and operational interference. By early 2019, an estimated 5.2 million people will be experiencing crisis levels (or worse) of acute food insecurity,4 and more than 220,700 children under 5 years will suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
Malaria remains the main cause of morbidity and mortality among children. Since 2014, the United Nations has verified 2,700 incidents of grave violations affecting over 81,000 children. Gender-based violence is occurring at an alarming rate, with some 2,300 incidents reported to service providers during the first half of 2018, mostly affecting women and girls. Over 2.2 million children across South Sudan are now out of school and 6 million people require water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.
In 2019, UNICEF will provide life-saving humanitarian assistance in South Sudan through a timely and effective integrated package of nutrition, health, WASH, child protection and education services delivered through interconnected, complementary responses. To ensure that support has a wide reach, services will be delivered through static operations, direct outreach and rapid response modalities. UNICEF’s operations will be led by its 13 field offices11 to enable wide coverage and quality programming across the country. UNICEF’s leadership of the nutrition and WASH clusters and child protection area of responsibility and its co-leadership of the education cluster will enable strategic planning, coordinated response, capacity building of partners and advocacy both at the national and state levels.
Emergency cash programming will be implemented through UNICEF’s strong existing collaborations and inter-agency mechanisms such as the Cash Working Group. The response will expand in 2019 to include recovery and resilience programming in selected field locations, including basic social service delivery, community-based system strengthening and accountability to affected populations. UNICEF will invest in increasing the localization of aid in South Sudan through capacity building and targeted resource allocation. Following the peace deal, UNICEF will also further invest in building the capacities of central and sub-national state authorities.
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$141.5 million available against the US$183.3 million appeal (77 per cent funded).12 These funds allowed UNICEF to deliver assistance to 2.4 million people,13 including 1.8 million children.14 In 2018, UNICEF reached 82 per cent of targeted children with SAM treatment, including in highly inaccessible locations. In malaria prevention, the distribution of bed nets exceeded the target by 45 per cent due to expanded programme coverage. Eighty-two per cent of targeted children were immunized against measles.15 While 62 per cent of the target population gained access to safe water, only 51 per cent are accessing appropriate sanitation facilities due to cultural barriers and under-funding. Psychosocial support provided by UNICEF and partners reached 89 per cent of targeted children.
Gains were made in girls’ access to education, with girls making up 44 per cent of the 559,000 children reached with education-in-emergencies services.
The education target was exceeded by 12 per cent thanks to the sustained availability of funding. Forty-five Integrated Rapid Response Mechanism missions were deployed to hard-toreach locations, reaching over 533,000 people, including 109,000 children under 5 years. The year’s results were achieved with partners, including state authorities, through static, outreach and mobile interventions.