SOUTH SUDAN | The food insecurity compounds the prevailing difficulties in regions impacted by floods, droughts, and conflicts.
More than six months have passed since the fighting began in Sudan, and over
400,000 people have crossed the border into South Sudan, the majority of whom are South Sudanese nationals. The spillover effects on transit areas near the South Sudan border have become increasingly apparent. This comes at a time when South Sudan is already grappling with the impacts of climate change, public health emergencies, and ongoing conflict.
Indeed, South Sudan remains one of the countries with the highest proportion of acutely food insecure people globally. In counties like Rubkona, one of the primary destinations for South Sudanese returnees,
recent IPC* analysis indicates alarmingly high levels of acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition. Approximately 80% of the population is affected, a trend projected to stay consistent through July 2024. Meanwhile, 5% of the population is projected to be facing catastrophic food insecurity, or ‘famine-like’ conditions, between September and November 2023. However, projections indicate a decrease in this number between December 2023 and March 2024, with a further decline anticipated between July and April 2024.
* Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC): the global body that determines the magnitude and severity of food insecurity and malnutrition in major humanitarian crises.
Photo credit: UN Women/James Ochweri - Rubkona, South Sudan 2023
Considering these new IPC findings, our
latest brief explores the impact of the Sudan crisis on food security in Rubkona:
- The influx of people due to the ongoing conflict in Sudan has placed pressure on scarce food resources and further intensified existing economic challenges, as is evident in Rubkona’s soaring food basket prices. In fact, Rubkona County has largely been flooded since 2021, disrupting traditional livelihood and income-generating activities while increasing communities' dependence on markets and humanitarian food aid to meet their basic needs.
- Results from the IPC analysis also project Rubkona will reach Phase 5 acute malnutrition (AMN) between April and July 2024, the most severe phase classification. An ongoing measles outbreak has likely been a key driver of such severe nutrition outcomes but has been
exacerbated by the sudden influx of people, leading to crowded displacement sites where the disease spread rapidly and overwhelming healthcare providers.
The combination of high prices, humanitarian assistance reductions, and disease outbreaks is likely to have severe impacts on already acute humanitarian needs, and
should humanitarian aid fail to be increased in proportion to the influx of new arrivals—acknowledged by the IPC as an exceedingly vulnerable group heavily reliant on external support to meet their basic needs—conditions are unlikely to improve.
Last week, the UK hosted the
Global Food Security Summit, together with the governments of Somalia and the UAE, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The focus of the Summit was on developing long-term solutions to prevent hunger and malnutrition, in a time of a global hunger crisis where almost one billion people live with severe food insecurity, and highlighting "hunger hotspots" such as East Africa. The latest data collected by REACH and analysis from the IPC in South Sudan clearly illustrate the urgent needs to be addressed by global decision makers in complex crises like these, which are facing the compounding effects of prolonged conflict and climate change.
More from South Sudan | New REACH report highlights community perspectives on displacement and durable solutions
Displacement in South Sudan is extensive, damaging, and ongoing. Roughly 2.4 million South Sudanese nationals are displaced globally, and a further 2.2 million people are displaced internally within the country. Our newest report delves into how communities in South Sudan perceive and address solutions concerning internal displacement.
Peace is not just the absence of war. It’s when there’s food on the table, when kids are going to school, when police can’t beat you for no reason, when violence isn’t committed... Right now, there’s no peace, no school, no health facilities. People are still there [in the area of origin] because there are NGOs there. But there are places that they can’t reach.
- Participant in Nimule, Eastern Equatoria State