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Normal to above-normal rains expected to continue

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • August 2012
Normal to above-normal rains expected to continue

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  • Key Messages
  • Updated food security outlook through December 2012
  • Key Messages
    • Areas of concern at present include northern parts of Warrap, Northern Bahr El Gazal, Unity State, and parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile states, which face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity (Figure 1). 

    • A FEWS NET nutrition and food security survey conducted in early July 2012 suggests that both malnutrition and child mortality have reached emergency levels in Yida Camp (Unity State). The survey results indicate a GAM prevalence of 21.8 percent and a SAM prevalence of 6.1 percent (WHO). The death rate for children under five years of age over the 90 days preceding the survey was estimated at 2.15/10,000/day. The survey identifies diarrhea as the major driver of mortality.

    • Prices of sorghum have doubled in most markets compared to last year. In Aweil and Wau, prices have more than tripled compared to the 2007 – 2011 average.  A decline in prices is expected in October in line with seasonal trends following the start of the main harvest.

    • Normal to above-normal rains are expected to continue through September across the country. Floods have been reported in Jonglei, Unity, and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. Persistent heavy rains will lead to increased flooding with potential damage to crops and property. In Unity State, humanitarian access to areas inhabited by refugees has already been cut off due to the heavy rains, prompting aid agencies to airlift supplies. 


    Updated food security outlook through December 2012

    Crisis levels (IPC Phase 3) of food insecurity conditions are likely to prevail through September, mainly in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, northern parts of Warrap and Unity states, and Jonglei state. Stressed conditions of food insecurity will persist in most other parts of the country. In greater Equatoria, minimal or no acute food insecurity is expected following the harvest of first season crops (June-August). In most parts of the country, food access is expected to improve with main season harvests from October to February.

    The risk of flooding remains high as heavy rains are expected through September. Areas affected by heavy rains to date include Jonglei state counties of Duk and Uror, Unity state counties of Abiemnhom, Mayom and Pariang, Aweil Center county (Northern Bahr el Ghazal State), and parts of Warrap and Upper Nile states. If current levels of rains continue, crop inundation and damage is likely. In Unity state, humanitarian access to refugee areas has already been cut off due to the heavy rains, prompting aid agencies to airlift supplies. Commercial trucks are also unable to supply food into the area, increasing existing deficits.

    Western Flood Plain Zone
    Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Aweil East and North); Warrap (Gogrial West and East, Twic, Tonj East and North); Unity (Abiemnhom, Mayom)

    Crisis levels of food insecurity persist in the northern part of the livelihood zone. In Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states, sorghum prices remained stable in July, signifying the impact of imports from Uganda on price stability, as an increased flow of commodities from Uganda to the northern states was observed in July. Significant food consumption gaps are expected to continue among poor and very poor households until the start of the main harvest in October.

    In Warrap state, the presence of the displaced from Abyei and high food and fuel prices continue to affect food security. Fuel prices increased by 144 percent from April to July, and sorghum prices increased by 68 percent from June to July in Kuajok town. Crisis levels of food insecurity are present in Twic and Gogrial East and West counties while the remaining counties face Stressed levels. The security situation in Mayom and Abiemnhom counties of Unity State has improved but heavy rains have reduced access to those counties. Traders have not been able to deliver commodities, while access to markets has been cut off for many households. Flooding has also been reported in Leer and Mayendit, where crop damage is evident.

    Markets will continue to play a significant role in the household food economy through at least September. August and September are typical flood months normally associated with fishing. Although the current floods may have devastating effects on crops and livestock, they will also increase fishing opportunities. Poor and very poor households are, therefore, expected to engage in fishing mainly for food and income during the flooding period and when the flood waters recede. Crisis levels of food insecurity are expected to persist through September. 

    Beginning in October, own crops and livestock are expected to contribute substantially to household food stocks, improving levels of food insecurity. From October to December, Crisis levels will remain in Aweil North and East, Mayom and Abiemnhom counties and Abyei area, while Stressed levels will be present in other areas of the livelihood zone due to improvements in food access and availability. Combined effects of insecurity and floods limit access to markets, food and income sources in these counties. The shocks are expected to have significant impact on agricultural production and the subsequent crop yields.

    Eastern Flood Plain Zone

    Upper Nile (Maban); Jonglei (Uror, Akobo, Duk); Unity (Pariang)

    Crisis food security in Unity’s Pariang County and Upper Nile’s Maban County are driven by an increasingly high concentration of refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. By mid-August, the refugee population in Unity State increased to over 62,000 people. Nearly all of the refugees are in Yida camp (60,000), with the remainder in Pariang (about 1,000 refugees) and Nyeel (about 850 refugees).

    A FEWS NET nutrition and food security survey conducted in early July 2012 in Yida camp suggests that both malnutrition and child mortality have reached emergency levels. The survey results indicate a GAM prevalence of 21.8 percent and a SAM prevalence of 6.1 percent (WHO). The GAM prevalence is higher than the WHO Emergency threshold of 15 percent. The death rate for children under five years of age over the 90 days preceding the survey was estimated at 2.15/10,000/day. This is especially concerning given that the survey data indicates an increasing frequency of child mortality over the past three months. The survey also found poor sanitation and hygiene situation in the camp, partly due to the onset of seasonal rains, with a possibility of further deterioration.

    In Upper Nile state, there are over 105,000 refugees, with most in Doro followed by Jammam, Yusif Batil and Gendrassa camps. In Batil camp in Upper Nile state, hosting around 34,000 refugees, the preliminary results of an MSF epidemiological survey completed on July 31 show GAM prevalence among children at 27.7 percent and SAM prevalence of 10.1 percent. The preliminary results also show a mortality rate for children under five in the camp to be at 2.1/10,000/day over a four-month period, above the emergency threshold. Poor water and sanitation conditions are likely to be worsened by the current flooding, and could, in turn, affect water and sanitation conditions among resident communities in the area. 

    WFP pre-positioned food in the refugee camps prior to the rainy season but the growing refugee population has rendered food stocks insufficient to meet needs. Heavy rains have cut off most roads in Unity and Upper Nile states, disrupting food assistance delivery. Agencies have been forced to resort to expensive airdrop operations. WFP has airdropped 672 metric tons of emergency food assistance in Maban refugee settlements since the operation started in mid-August. Crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) exist in Maban and Yida. In Maban, Stressed levels of food insecurity exist among residents, though in Yida and the surrounding areas, multiple shocks have caused Crisis level of food insecurity to persist among at least 20 percent of the population.

    In Jonglei state, Crisis levels of food insecurity persist in Akobo, Uror, Duk, Canal, Nyirol, Fangak and Pibor counties. Recent floods have displaced thousands of people from their homes, and submerged crops, raising concerns over potential impacts on yields. In Pibor County, an armed group attacked and killed 24 SPLA soldiers, heightening fears of renewed insecurity in the area and potential impacts on livelihood activities.

    Abyei area

    The security situation continued to improve in Abyei area in August. An estimated 10,000 people have returned to Abyei following the relative calm in the area.  However, Crisis levels of food insecurity are expected to persist until December. Although markets have started to operate, grains are not yet available. The road linking Agok and Abyei will soon be impassable as the heavy rains continue. Furthermore, mines continue to pose a significant threat to access to seasonal wild foods and income sources.

    Agro-climatic conditions have been favorable for crop production but the displaced missed the first cultivation season (April-July) due to lack of seeds and tools. There is a high chance of losing the second planting in July and August as well. Although short-term sorghum, maize, and cowpeas seeds, as well as tools, were distributed in August, the planting period remaining is very short. Outcomes of the current season depend on the progress of the rainy season. Most of the displaced will continue to rely on humanitarian assistance for food and other needs.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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