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Crisis food insecurity increases as the lean season peaks

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • June 2013
Crisis food insecurity increases as the lean season peaks

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The Implementation Matrix with Sudan is at risk. Conflict along the border, particularly in Abyei; the cost of crossborder trade and movement; and macro-economic stress, at least in the short-to-medium term, are likely to increase.

    • Food security continues to deteriorate in Pibor County as conflict continues, making the area inaccessible to trade and humanitarian assistance. Crisis levels of food insecurity are expected to persist at least until September. 

    • New forecasts suggest average to below-average rainfall for much of western and central South Sudan.

    • In the northern states, civil insecurity and restrictions to trade and movement are likely to result in food deficits (IPC Phase 3: Crisis) through July/August. 


    Current Situation
    • Continued civil security in Pibor County, Jonglei State, has displaced more than 23,000 people from their homes as of May 31, seeking refuge in Kapoeta, as well as neighboring countries. Boma, formerly a key market town for the area, is nearly empty, and the market is no longer functioning. Households are reportedly mixing blood and milk for consumption, a coping strategy employed during bad years.
    • Informal cereal imports from Sudan decreased by about 50 percent in May. Though trade normally declines once rains begin, a significant portion of this decline was due to the growing tension between the two countries. The most significant reduction was observed in Warawar, Aweil East where cereal imports fell by about 70 percent from 994 MT in April to 286 MT in May. However, a four-fold increase in imports through Gok Machar in Aweil North from 50 MT in April to 247 MT in May suggests that traders may be avoiding the route through Warawar due to its proximity to Abyei, where security tensions are high. Despite the drop in trade, market conditions in May 2013 remained better than those of May 2012. Cereal prices were lower in 2013 than 2012 on all markets (except Juba due to its rapid economic growth). According to the National Bureau of Statistics, annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased by 9.2 percent between May 2012 and May 2013, mainly due to low food prices. 
    • An extended May/June dry spell in the pastoral areas of southeastern Kapoeta led to below-average pasture maintenance. Rains started timely in the pastoral zone of greater Kapoeta but have been erratic from the start. Most of May had been very dry resulting in vegetation regeneration mainly in most areas of greater Kapoeta (Figure 3). The return of livestock from dry season grazing areas to homelands will likely be delayed by a couple of weeks.
    • Pasture levels are near average, and no major food security impacts are currently expected, but the situation merits further monitoring.

    Updated Assumptions

    If not noted otherwise, the assumptions noted in the April Outlook report remain valid.

    • The Implementation Matrix is at risk. As a result, FEWS NET expects that conflict in border areas, particularly around Abyei will likely increase in intensity. The cost of trade and inflation will likely increase more than anticipated in the April Outlook.
    • Trade flow is likely to decline following the ongoing tensions between Sudan and Sudan. This is likely to increase prices faster than usual through the peak of the lean season in July/August. 
    • June to September rainfall is expected to be average to below average (ICPAC, USGS/FEWS NET) in most of the country. In Upper Nile state, rainfall is likely to be average to above average. Normal or below normal levels of floods will be expected in flood prone areas of Eastern and Western Flood Plains livelihood zones.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Displacement within Pibor County and to Kapoeta and Ethiopia will continue despite the rains due to conflict and food insecurity (lack of market access). Given the reduced consumption due to market closures and the high cost of trade due to rains and conflict, poor households who remain in the area will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity throughout the scenario period.

    Prices of staple food commodities will increase in July and August prior to the start of green consumption in the northern states. Food supplies will dwindle as informal trade reduces due to the growing tensions between Sudan and South Sudan and the peak of the rainy season that normally impedes transport during the period between July and September. With limited income levels, high prices are likely to limit food access to poor households in the northern states. Households in conflict-affected areas will increasingly face food deficits (IPC Phase 3) in July and August.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    EModis Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series for Kapoeta.

    Figure 2

    EModis Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series for Kapoeta.

    Source: USGS/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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