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South Sudan: September 2014 Analysis

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Food security in South Sudan has begun improving in August and September and is expected to continue on a positive trend through December 2014 according to seasonal patterns, particularly in areas not affected by conflict. Normal rainfall, good crop planting and performance, and the start of the green harvest in late August have had a positive effect on the seasonal availability of crops, livestock products, fish, and wild foods. However, due to displacement, planting in Greater Upper Nile has been reduced, which will impact overall cereal production and lead to faster stock depletion.

While there are significant improvements since the May IPC, the situation is much worse compared to a typical year at harvest time. 1.5 million people are projected to remain in Phase 3 (Crisis) and Phase 4 (Emergency) through December 2014, including one-third of the population of Greater Upper Nile.

These populations have made it through conflict, displacement, and a harsh lean season in 2014 by relying on coping mechanisms, including traditional kinship sharing and distress asset depletion. As a result, their resilience into 2015 is expected to be very weak, particularly if new shocks occur.

The outlook for 2015 is of great concern, with 2.5 million people projected to be in Crisis or Emergency from January to March 2015, including nearly half of the population of Greater Upper Nile. Severe challenges include early depletion of household food stocks, dysfunctional markets, loss of livelihoods, and displacement – all resulting from protracted conflict.

The overall nutrition situation remains dire for September to December. The prevalence of global acute malnutrition is likely to remain above emergency thresholds (GAM >15%), as defined by the World Health Organization, especially in conflict-affected states. High levels of acute malnutrition are attributed to inadequate food consumption as well as other factors including morbidity, dietary and feeding habits, and constrained health and nutrition service delivery.

Humanitarian assistance has reduced the number of people in Crisis and Emergency phases. However, deliveries remain inconsistent due to logistical constraints during the rainy season, continued insecurity, and insufficient funding.

There is a short window of opportunity to take action before the end of the year when nearly half of households in Greater Upper Nile will have depleted their food stocks, and when new shocks may occur. In order to prevent a dramatic deterioration of food insecurity and malnutrition in 2015, immediate actions should include scaling up humanitarian assistance, including nutrition and livelihood interventions, ensuring safe movement of large volumes of food stocks, and most importantly, securing a peaceful solution to the ongoing political crisis.

South Sudan
Food Security ClustersFEWS NETFAOThe Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS)CARE InternationalACF
The World Food Programme (WFP)unicefSICASave the ChildrenOxfamThe Joint research Center (JRC) of the European CommissionIGAD