Protracted conflict in South Sudan has led to a perpetual state of humanitarian crisis. Although there has been a lull in large-scale hostilities over the past year, localized violence has persisted in many pockets of the country. The Equatoria Region continues to be hard hit by conflict. Elsewhere inter-communal and live-stock related violence have been widespread, threatening to reverse some of the gains made throughout 2019. The country continues to be marked by severe underdevelopment and economic instability with more than four out of five people living below the poverty line.
food insecurity. Furthermore, over 2.2 million South Sudanese have fled their homes to neighboring countries. An additional 1.4 million people are internally displaced as of December 2019, close to 200,000 of whom are sheltering on the bases of the UN Mission in South Sudan in the Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites, which continue to be a life-saving last resort for civilians seeking refuge from violence and conflict. In addition, floods and the threat of Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo attests to the continued need for emergency response funding.
Though the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) has been slow, the peace deal still provides the space for cautious optimism about an end to the conflict and violence that has devastated the lives of so many South Sudanese people. Since the agreement was signed in September 2018, over 500,000 people have returned to their homes.
With some exceptions, the ceasefire has been tenuously holding in many parts of the country, enabling the emergence of areas of return and stability. Areas that had been razed by the war are starting to witness renewed activity, raising the hopes and opportunities for a transition to longer-term recovery and development. Moreover, in July 2019 with the accession of South Sudan to the Kampala Convention, the country legally engaged in protecting, assisting and finding solutions for its over 1.4 million internally displaced.
It is against this backdrop that IOM South Sudan’s appeal and operational plan for 2020 has been created, which includes plans for maintaining and scaling up ongoing humanitarian operations, as well as supporting returns, recovery and resilience.