The food security situation continues to deteriorate as majority of the country goes into a lean season characterized by the typical seasonal shortages of food, delayed rainfall, high food prices and presence of IDPs and returnees.
How Severe, How Many and When – In May-July 2019, an estimated 6.96 million people (61% of the population) are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse, out of which an estimated 1.82 million people will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity and 21,000 will likely be in Catastrophe (IPC phase 5). This is historically the highest number of people in South Sudan ever to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse. Compared to the January 2019 projection analysis of the May-July 2019 period, an additional 81,000 people are likely to slip into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse. This deterioration is largely associated with the delayed rainfall that is expected to affect the improvement in the availability of wild foods, fish and livestock products as well as delay the green harvest. Of the people estimated to be in Catastrophe in May-July 2019, 10,000 are in Canal/Pigi of former Jonglei State, 10,000 are in Cueibet of former Lakes State, and 1,000 are in Panyikang of former Upper Nile State.
Where – Former Jonglei State has the highest proportion of people estimated to be food insecure between May and July 2019, with 73% of its population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse followed by former Unity State with 69% of its population estimated to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse. 25 Counties are classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity and they include: Kapoeta East of former Eastern Equatoria State; Akobo, Bor South, Canal/Pigi, Nyirol, Twic East, and Uror of former Jonglei State; Awerial, Cueibet, Rumbek North, Yirol East and Yirol West of former Lakes State; Aweil East, Aweil North, Aweil South, and Aweil West of former Northern Bahr el Ghazal State; Koch and Panyijiar of former Unity State; Longochuk, Luakpiny/Nasir, Maiwut, Panyikang, and Ulang of former Upper Nile State; and Gogrial West and Tonj North of former Warrap State.
Why – The proportion of food insecure people as projected for May-July 2019 is the highest ever and the food insecurity situation is driven by household food shortages that are typical of a lean season, but have been exacertabated by delayed rainfall, the persistent macro-economic crisis, population displacements, additional needs from returnees, prolonged years of asset depletion, and the generally eroded livelihoods due to continued years of conflict – all of which continue to compromise majority of the households’ capacity to access enough food during the ongoing lean season. High food prices occasioned by depleted harvests as well as rain-induced deterioration of road networks that disrupts market supplies and functionality are also contributing to the high levels of acute food insecurity. The rainy season, when it effectively sets in, is likely to result in increased incidences of human diseases such as malaria and acute watery diarrhoea that will affect productivity and deplete savings in the form of increased medical expenses – this will further contribute to household vulnerability and reduce resources available for purchasing food.