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Deterioration to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected in Greater Upper Nile in April

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • February 2015
Deterioration to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected in Greater Upper Nile in April

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The lean season has begun in parts of Greater Upper Nile (GUN) where poor and IDP households depleted food stocks by December and January. Expansion of fishing and hunting has not mitigated cereal deficits, causing a deterioration in food security outcomes. Fighting in parts of Unity and Upper Nile in recent weeks has further limited access to seasonal food and income sources. 

    • Despite a temporary decline early in the month, the informal exchange rate remained high at an average of 6.4 South Sudanese Pounds per U.S. Dollar in February. The negative impact of high import costs and ongoing fuel shortages continue to put upward pressure on staple food prices in many markets across the country.

    • Food security is expected to deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in several counties in Greater Upper Nile by April, particiularly where insecurity continues to limit humanitarian assistance delivery. 

    Current Situation

    Food security outcomes deteriorated in GUN despite efforts of poor and IDP households to offset early food stock depletion. The lean season is starting earlier than normal in aeras of GUN where 2014 production deficits were highest. To offset cereal deficits, households in Canal and Nyirol counties in Jonglei; Ulang, Nasir, Panyikang, and Longochuk counties in Upper Nile; and Panyijiar, Leer and Guit counties in Unity, have expanded fishing and—in Jonglei and Upper Nile, wild game hunting—for consumption and sale. However, despite these strategies, poor and IDP households in these areas currently face considerable food gaps.

    Fighting continued in Unity and Upper Nile states in February limiting seasonal improvements in access to food and income. Clashes between government and opposition forces in Renk, Nasir, and Rubkona counties reversed recent improvements in trade flows and livelihoods activities, particularly in Nasir where insecurity and renewed displacement continues to threaten access to food. Conflict and insecurity have also caused atypical livestock migration patterns in many areas. Herders in Nyirol and Uror counties have moved livestock to the Pibor River, and as far as Greater Equatoria instead of their typical migration along the Sobat River, and fighting in Ulang and Nasir forced livestock across the Ethiopian border to Matar. In Lakes State, inter-communal conflict declined in recent weeks following peace campaigns by community leaders in January and February, improving security and access in Rumbek North and Rumbek East counties. However, atypical livestock migration from Lakes to Greater Equatoria continued, increasing tensions with farming communities.

    Depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound (SSP), and foreign currency and fuel shortages continue to impact food imports, transportation costs and market pre-stocking by traders. The informal exchange rate continued to increase, despite a temporary decline in early February. The exchange rate rose to 6.6 SSP per U.S. Dollar (USD) in the third week of February  and averaged at 6.38 SSP per USD for the month. The rising exchange rate, coupled with the unpredictable security situation has impacted traders’ ability to pre-stock commodities, particularly in GUN and Lakes State. Market supplies have increased in GUN compared to this time last year, but remain substantially below pre-crisis levels. Sorghum prices declined in Malakal and Bentiu from December to January, likely due to large volumes of food assistance. Sorghum prices decreased by 15 percent in Malakal and were 5 percent below the five-year average. In Bentiu, sorghum prices remain roughtly 60 percent higher than the five-year average.

    Food assistance delivery improved in Unity State in January, however, insecurity continues to constrain assistance delivery in worst-off areas in Jonglei and Upper Nile.  

    Updated Assumptions

    Assumptions made in the South Sudan Food Security Outlook for January to September 2015 remain unchanged.

    Projected Outlook through September 2015

    Food consumption gaps are expected to grow among poor and IDP households in GUN from March to June as access to seasonal food sources declines during the lean season. In counties where insecurity limits humanitarian access, a deterioration to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely  to occur in the next two months. Although food security outcomes are expected to improve  as green crops become available in late July/ early August, further reductions in area planted compared to last year are likely to limit harvests in Greater Upper Nile.  

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    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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