Food Security Outlook

Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) will persist in 2020 despite slight improvements during harvesting period

October 2019 to May 2020

October 2019 - January 2020

February - May 2020

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • In October, or worse outcomes across South Sudan despite the ongoing harvest. Based on August 2019 South Sudan IPC analysis, an estimated 4.5 million people are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity during the October 2019 to January 2020 harvesting period in the presence of planned humanitarian food assistance. However, it is likely that the number of households experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity and the severity of food insecurity in Maban, specifically, is higher than originally anticipated due to flooding that has caused displacement and losses of crops and food aid commodities at the household level, in addition to disruptions to food assistance delivery, trade flows, and market functioning.

  • Food insecurity is most severe in Ulang, Maiwut, and Maban counties of Upper Nile and Duk county of Jonglei, where Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes exist due to the impact of flooding on household crop production and food access. However, the availability of the harvest and natural food sources has relatively reduced the severity of food insecurity in other counties of concern, including Yirol East and Cueibet of Lakes, Canal/Pigi of Jonglei, and Budi of Eastern Equatoria, where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) exists. Large-scale humanitarian food assistance also continues to mitigate more severe outcomes in several areas of concern, such as Leer, Mayendit, and Panyijiar counties of Unity and Rumbek North of Lakes. In September, more than 2 million people were reached with food assistance, though the reach still remains below the estimated population in need. 

  • Food security is expected to slightly improve from October 2019 to January 2020, driven by the availability of the harvests and seasonal food sources. Although 2019/20 national crop production is still expected to be similar to or slightly better than last year, cereal production deficits are now likely to be higher than previously anticipated in areas affected by flooding. Household sources are most likely to remain inadequate to cover most households’ minimum food needs, given the depletion of productive household assets over the course of the protracted conflict.

  • Although the number of conflict events is anticipated to decline as a result of implementation of the peace deal, food security is expected to deteriorate from February to May 2020. Household food gaps will likely widen due to cereal production deficits, especially in flood-affected counties, and due to seasonal declines in livestock production, fish, and wild foods. Poor macroeconomic conditions and rising food demand, driven by returnees, are expected to sustain high food prices and constrain food access.  Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected, though past trends indicate humanitarian food assistance is likely to prevent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in some counties in 2020.

  • In the event that the peace deal does not hold, and a resurgence of conflict prevents populations from moving in search of food sources or restricts humanitarian access for a prolonged period of time, food insecurity would likely worsen. Poor households who did not harvest or do not own livestock with few income sources to access food would be at risk of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely in counties where there are already high levels of acute food insecurity. Full implementation of the September 2018 peace deal, an end to conflict by all parties, and a scale-up of assistance is needed to prevent further loss of lives and livelihoods.  

Risk of Famine will persist into 2020, though conflict events expected to decline with peace deal

A full IPC acute analysis conducted in August 2019 reported that an estimated 6.35 million people faced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the presence of humanitarian food assistance at the peak of the 2019 lean season, including 1.7 million in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Of greatest concern was Yirol East county of Lakes state, where an estimated 10,000 people were in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5)[1]. However, a reduction in conflict events facilitated improved household access to livelihood activities and some recovery in trade flows and market functioning, leading to a reduction in the proportion of the population experiencing severe outcomes.

Data from the 24th round of Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System (FSNMS R24) indicated slight improvements in food security outcome indicators during the July/August peak of the 2019 lean season compared to the same time last year, but with a severity that is indicative of the low quantity and poor quality of diets across South Sudan. An average 43 percent of households on the national level reported a ‘poor’ Food Consumption Score (FCS), compared to an average 47 percent in 2018. Similarly, the average percent of households reporting a ‘severe’ Household Hunger Score (HHS) of 5-6, which is indicative of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), declined from 4 percent in the 2018 lean season to 3 percent in the 2019 lean season on the national level (Figure 1). However, HHS remained high in Yirol East of Lakes state, where 19 percent of households reported an HHS of 5 or 6.

Food security is expected to somewhat improve during the October to January harvesting period as harvests become available and the availability of natural food sources reach their annual peak. However, the recent impact of flooding on crop production, market functioning, and delivery of food assistance is likely to narrow previously anticipated gains. The August 2019 IPC analysis projected an estimated 4.5 million people would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse  in the presence of planned humanitarian food assistance, but it is likely that more households are now facing high levels of acute food insecurity than originally anticipated due to flood-induced displacements, crop losses and disruptions to assistance delivery, trade flow and market functioning in flood-affected states. From February to May, food security will again deteriorate due to cereal deficits in states most affected by flooding and seasonal declines in livestock production, fish, and wild foods. Poor macroeconomic conditions and an increase in national food demand driven by returnees is likely to sustain high food prices and food access.

As a result, high levels of acute food insecurity are expected to persist in 2020 despite the expectation of a continued decline in conflict events facilitated by the peace deal. As the loss of key livelihood assets during the conflict has eroded the coping capacity of poor households, food gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) will likely be widespread. Past trends indicate humanitarian food assistance is likely to mitigate the occurrence of worse outcomes in some counties, but deliveries of assistance have remained below the level of need. FSNMS R24 data show that households who did not harvest or do not own livestock, and have few other income sources are most vulnerable to high food prices and may be at risk of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). In the event that the peace deal does not hold, and a resurgence of conflict prevents populations from moving in search of food sources or restricts humanitarian access for a prolonged period of time, a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely in South Sudan. Full implementation of the September 2018 peace deal, an end to conflict by all parties, and a scale-up of assistance is needed to prevent further loss of lives and livelihoods.  

 

[1]  According to the IPC, a Famine (IPC Phase 5) has occurred when at least 20 percent of households in a given area have an extreme lack of food, the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence, as measured by weight-for-height z-score (WHZ), exceeds 30 percent, and morality, as measured by the Crude Death Rate (CDR), is greater than 2 per 10,000 per day. Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) is when a household group has an extreme lack of food and/or other basic needs even with the full employment of coping strategies.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current Situation

The start of the main harvest in October has led to slight improvements in food security relative to the lean season and same time last year. Based on the August 2019 South Sudan IPC analysis, an estimated 4.5 million people are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity at the start of the harvest period in the presence of planned humanitarian food assistance. This represents a 30 percent decline in the severely food insecure population compared to the peak of the 2019 lean season in July and August and an approximately 3.7 percent decline compared to the 2018 harvest period. However, the number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse is likely higher than previously estimated as a result of flood-induced displacement, crop loss, and disruptions to assistance delivery, trade flows, and market functioning. In many areas of greatest concern – including Yirol East, Cueibet, and Rumbek North of Lakes; most of Northern Bahr el Ghazal; Panyikang of Upper Nile state (UNS); and Kapoeta North, Kapoeta East, and Budi of Eastern Equatoria – food insecurity has improved from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to the ongoing harvest and seasonal availability of livestock products, fish, and wild foods. However, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes exist in Ulang, Maiwut and Maban of UNS and Duk of Jonglei due to the severe impact of flooding that displaced households, caused crop loss, and disrupted trade flows and market functioning – reflecting an increase in the severity of acute food insecurity in Maban compared to previous projections. In parts of Unity, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, UNS, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes, and Eastern Equatoria, large-scale food assistance continues to mitigate more extreme outcomes, resulting in Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!).

Although the main June to September rainfall season was considered broadly favorable, heavy rainfall in September and October has considerably escalated the scale of flooding across South Sudan. Typically, episodic flooding events are seasonally normal, and the associated rainfall is conducive to agricultural and livestock production and the availability of fish and wild foods. According to USGS and the Climate Hazards Center, however, September to October 2019 has proved to be one of the wettest periods on record in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states, where cumulative rainfall since late August has been up to 200 percent of normal. According to OCHA, heavy flooding has affected an estimated 908,000 people across Upper Nile, Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria states, as well as parts of Unity, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Lakes (Figure 2) where many households were already facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse. Nearly half of those affected have been at least temporarily displaced. The number of people affected is highest in Maban of Upper Nile and Pibor of Jonglei. In addition to causing displacement and damaging homes and public infrastructure, the floods have caused crop and livestock losses, disrupted trade flows and food assistance delivery, and contaminated water sources. As of late October, heavy rainfall continues to sustain a moderate to high flood risk across much of the country and prompted the Government to declare state of emergency. In contrast, parts of Western Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria received 85-95 percent of their normal rainfall totals for this season. 

As a result, crop production prospects in 2019 are likely worse than previously anticipated. In October, the unimodal harvest is ongoing or completed in some areas where crops are not submerged, while the harvest of second season crops in Greater Equatoria will begin in November/December. The scale of crop loss due to flooding during the 2019 rainfall season is yet to be determined by CFSAM assessment. However, it is expected that flooding has reduced the gains that were originally expected for the 2019 harvest compared to the 2018 harvest, which were based on an increase in area planted in 2019 compared to 2018. According to data collected during the 24th round of Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring Systems (FSNMS R24) in June and July, an average 39 percent of households on the national level had expected the 2019/20 harvest to be better than last year, while a notable percent expect the harvest to be similar to last year. Based on FSNMS R24 data as well as recent flooding events, 2019 harvests are most likely lower than 2018 in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria, and parts of Upper Nile and Unity. In addition, pest infestations and ongoing insecurity in the south that limited access to fields has impacted production prospects in parts of Central and Western Equatoria as well as Lakes.

Overall, conflict events in 2019 continue to remain below levels observed in 2018, permitting unhindered population movements, trade flows, and market functioning. The relative improvement in security has also facilitated the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), though a recent update from IOM/DTM indicates that the reduction in IDPs from 1.8 million in July to 1.47 million people in September is in part attributed to a verification exercise. In Maiwut of Upper Nile, relative calm has returned after clashes in late July, enabling traders to operate freely between Pagak town and Ethiopia. However, although no large-scale conflict events have recently occurred, some armed clashes between the government and opposition forces were reported in Yei, Morobo, Maridi, and Mundri counties of Greater Equatoria, which disrupted trade flows and second season cropping activities. Insecurity in Aweil West, Aweil North, and Raga counties of Greater Bahr el Ghazal has also persisted since armed confrontations occurred in late August between government and opposition forces.

Given improvements in security conditions, trade flows and market functioning are continuing to recover throughout the country. However, minimal activity or significant disruptions to market activity are still observed in UNS, Jonglei, and Unity and along the Tamburu-Wau and Yei-Maridi trade routes due to conflict, insecurity, or seasonal flooding (Figure 3). Further, based on key informant information and rapid assessments conducted by FEWS NET from August to October, market supply and demand remain below normal due to continued poor macroeconomic conditions and low household purchasing power in many markets in Greater Equatoria and Great Upper Nile. FEWS NET’s preliminary analysis of cross-border trade data indicates that sorghum imports from Uganda to South Sudan during the third quarter of 2019 is 360-370 percent higher than the second quarter of 2019 and triple the five-year average. Sorghum imports from Sudan to South Sudan in the third quarter are also 84 percent above 2018, but have declined 41 percent since the second quarter of 2019, likely in part due to border restrictions. Despite the increase in trade relative to previous years, above-average rainfall and flooding has affected feeder road conditions and inhibited trade flows in northern and eastern South Sudan, though transportation via the River Nile is still occurring. In Greater Equatoria, insecurity is also a factor.

Poor macroeconomic conditions also remain of concern, driving high inflation and unemployment and limiting access to foreign currency to import consumer goods. Although security conditions have improved in oil-producing areas of Paloich of UNS and Unity, leading to another increase in crude oil production from 175,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May to 180,000 bdp in late August, the increase in revenue from oil exports is mainly allocated to infrastructure development, logistics of the implementation of the peace agreement, and the repayment of loans. Since December 2015, the South Sudanese Pound (SSP) has continued to depreciate against the US Dollar (USD) on the parallel market. In October, the average exchange rate of one USD was 310 SSP, compared to 160 SSP on the official market.

Given inflation and exchange rate volatility, limited trade flows and market functioning, and the prevalence of illegal taxes, staple food prices remain high in reference markets despite the increase in sorghum imports and start of the 2019 harvest. As a result, food access for market-dependent households remains poor. According to price data from CLiMIS, the retail price of white sorghum continued to rise in Wau of Western Bahr el Ghazal and Juba key reference markets in September, though cross-border imports of sorghum from Sudan served to maintain a declining trend in Aweil Centre of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Figure 4). In Wau, a kilogram (kg) of sorghum was 130 and 273 percent above the September 2018 and five-year averages, respectively. In Juba, a kg of sorghum was 151 and 233 percent above the September 2018 and five-year averages, respectively, despite improved trade flows from Uganda along the Nimule-Juba road. However, in Aweil Centre, a kg of white sorghum was 55 percent below the September 2018 average, though still well-above the five-year average.

Humanitarian food assistance continues to play significant role in mitigating occurrence of more extreme food insecurity outcomes in many counties in October, though periodic disruptions due to seasonal deterioration in feeder road conditions, and insecurity in some parts of Upper Nile were reported. In September, more than 2 million people or 17 percent of the population were reached with general food distributions (GFD) and food for assets (FFA) programs. This is similar to the July-September average of 2.18 million people or 18 percent of the population. In most counties of high concern, food assistance reached at least 25 percent of the population on average per month from July to September, with the exception of Panyikang and Ulang of UNS, Yirol East of Lakes, Canal/Pigi of Jonglei, and Budi, Kapoeta East, and Kapoeta North of Eastern Equatoria (Figure 5). The proportion of the population reached is particularly low in Canal/Pigi and Budi, where deliveries have reached only 0-6 percent of the population since July.

At the July/August peak of the 2019 lean season, data from the FSNMS R24 indicated slight improvements in food security outcome indicators compared to same time last year. In October, food security has marginally improved compared to July/August, facilitated by ongoing harvest and seasonal availability of wild foods, milk, and other livestock products but impeded by the impact of flooding in some areas. During the July/August lean season, an average 43 percent of households on the national level reported a ‘poor’ Food Consumption Score (FCS), compared to an average 47 percent in 2018. Similarly, the average percent of households reporting a ‘severe’ Household Hunger Score (HHS) of 5-6, which is indicative of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), declined from 4 percent in the 2018 lean season to 3 percent in the 2019 lean season on the national level. However, HHS remained high in Yirol East of Lakes, where 19 percent of households reported an HHS of 5 or 6. These results continue to indicate the low quantity and poor quality of diets across South Sudan.

According to FEWS NET’s analysis of national median Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) since 2010, the overall nutrition situation exhibits an overall trend of improvement from the lean season of 2010 to the lean season of 2019. However, the nutrition situation has deteriorated in the lean season of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018. According to the August 2019 Acute Malnutrition Analysis (AMN), the national GAM prevalence measured by weight-for-height z-score (WHZ) was 16.2 percent or ’Critical’ (GAM WHZ 15.0-29.9 percent) in 2019, compared to a prevalence of 23 percent in 2010. Compared to 2018, GAM has deteriorated from 13.3 percent or ’Serious’ (GAM WHZ 10.0-14.9 percent) to ‘Critical.’ In October, 32 counties are likely facing a GAM prevalence of ’Critical’ (GAM WHZ 15.0-29.9 percent), while 24 counties likely have ’Serious’ (GAM WHZ 10.0-14.9 percent) acute malnutrition. The majority of these counties are in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Eastern Equatoria. The nutrition situation in Renk of UNS and Budi of Eastern Equatoria remain of high concern. In Renk, acute malnutrition levels among the local population reached 32.1 percent (CI: 27.4-37.2) or ‘Extremely Critical’ levels (GAM WHZ ≥30 percent) in the lean season of 2019, though this has now likely declined to ‘Critical’ with the harvest. Acute malnutrition levels in Renk have been among the highest in the country in the past three years. The high GAM prevalence is likely driven by both food and non-food factors, the latter including high morbidity and poor access to health, nutrition, and WASH services. A causal analysis is planned in November 2019. In Budi, GAM WHZ reached a ‘Critical’ level of 27.7 percent (CI: N/A) in the lean season. Based on a rapid assessment conducted by FEWS NET in early October, households are consuming first season maize harvests and milk, which may have slightly alleviated the severity of GAM in Budi within the ‘Critical’ phase.

As a result of the above factors, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist in October in areas experiencing flooding-induced displacement and crop loss, disruptions to assistance delivery, trade flows and market functioning, and conflict and insecurity. Outcomes are most severe in Ulang, Maiwut, and Maban counties of Upper Nile and Duk of Jonglei, where Emergency (IPC Phase 4) exists due to flood-induced displacements, crop losses, and disruptions to assistance delivery and trade flow. Meanwhile, large-scale food assistance continues to mitigate more extreme outcomes in many areas of concern, including Leer, Mayendit, and Panyijiar of Unity; and Rumbek North of Lakes. Seasonal increases in food availability have reduced the severity of food insecurity in many other counties of concern, including Yirol East and Cueibet of Lakes, Canal/Pigi of Jonglei, Kapoeta North, Kapoeta East, and Budi of Eastern Equatoria, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) remains widespread due to continued low access to food and income and the depletion of productive household assets over the course of the protracted conflict. In 18 counties where market functioning and access to food and income is relatively better, including in Warrap, Lakes, Western, Central, and Eastern Equatoria, and Pochalla of Jonglei, seasonal food availability has driven improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

National Assumptions

The October 2019 to May 2020 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:

  • Despite challenges in progress towards the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, it is assumed that relevant parties will adhere to the November 12 deadline for completing the pre-transition period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). Implementation of the peace deal is expected to continue to facilitate improvement in security. However, some insecurity is likely to persist in parts of Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile and, to a lesser extent, in Western and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Cattle-raiding and inter-communal conflict are anticipated in Lakes, Warrap, Unity, Jonglei, and, to some degree, in Eastern Equatoria.
  • Based on current trends and lower levels of conflict, refugee returns from Sudan and Ethiopia are expected, though many may not return directly to their places of origin. Refugee returns from Uganda and DRC are expected to remain relatively low due to continued insecurity along the return routes. An increase in IDP returns is also expected, including returns to areas of origin. Large-scale new displacement is not expected, but the displaced population will remain high.
  • Based on the NOAA forecast, rainfall in November is most likely to continue to be above average in southern South Sudan. This raises the risk of sustained flooding and associated damage in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria and is likely to delay the recession of flood waters that typically occurs in November/December. Seasonally dry conditions are expected to return to unimodal areas of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Bahr el Ghazal in late 2019 through May 2020.
  • Based on data from FSNMS R24 and FAO’s crop watch, 2019/20 national crop production is expected to be below average, but similar to or slightly better than last year. However, local harvests in some counties of Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Greater Bahr el Ghazal are expected to be below the 2018 harvest due to the impact of flooding, low access to agricultural inputs, and pest and disease incidence. In general, stocks from the main season harvest in northern regions and the second season harvest in Greater Equatoria are expected to last until February or March for most households.
  • Based on NOAA and ICPAC forecasts, first-season rainfall from March to May in bi-modal Greater Equatoria is most likely to be timely and to be average, supporting timely agricultural and livestock production activities. However, there is uncertainty given the long-term nature of this forecast. First-season cultivation in 2020 is expected to be higher than 2019, due to improved security and an increase in returnees, who are likely to resume livelihood activities. However, localized insecurity and a lack of agricultural inputs may continue to limit area planted compared to pre-crisis levels.
  • Fish and wild foods are expected to be seasonally available through April, but at declining levels as the dry season progresses. However, access to these food sources will vary across counties depending on the level of insecurity.
  • Livestock production is expected to be seasonally high through December/January, though milk consumption and livestock sales at the household level will vary depending on herd size. Seasonal declines are expected from January to May as livestock migrate to dry-season grazing areas, which reduces access to milk at the homestead.
  • Based on FSNMS R24 data and recent trends, household income from the sale of crops, livestock, fish, and other natural resources are expected to be moderate to significant through May, but total household income is likely to remain below pre-crisis levels due to loss of household assets and below-normal livestock and labor demand as a result of the conflict.
  • Trade flows and market functioning are expected to continue to improve given lower overall levels of conflict, though periodic disruptions are likely where insecurity persists. Staple food imports from Uganda are expected to continue to rise based on improved security conditions along Nimule-Juba road, while the establishment of a new government in Sudan and efforts to re-open the Sudan-South Sudan border are likely to increase staple food imports from Sudan.
  • Based on FEWS NET’s integrated price projections, staple food prices in markets including Wau and Juba are likely to remain above the 2018, 2019, and five-averages through May, driven primarily by rising cereal demand, the below-average 2019 harvest, and inflation. The retail price of a kilogram of sorghum is projected to range between 159-163 SSP in Wau and 124-166 SSP in Juba. In Aweil, however, the retail sorghum price is likely to be below the 2018 and 2019 average, given improved trade flows and market functioning, ranging from 78-97 SSP. The sorghum price in Aweil is likely to remain above the five-average through January before declining to below the five-year average through May.
  • Although the IMF projects real GDP growth in South Sudan will rise in 2019 and 2020, macroeconomic conditions are expected to remain poor. Hard currency inflows from oil exports are likely to be spent for peace deal implementation and infrastructure development, with little available for food imports and livelihoods recovery. Given this, the USD:SSP parallel exchange rate is projected trade between 300 and 350 SSP per USD due to the expectation of increased needs for USD and fluctuations in the value of the local currency against the USD.
  • Based on WFP’s operational plan made available at the August 2019 IPC acute analysis, humanitarian food assistance through GFD and FFA is expected to reach an average 18 percent of the country population per month with an average 45 percent of kilocalorie needs from October to December 2019. Based on an analysis of WFP distribution data from 2017 to 2019, past delivery trends indicate that monthly assistance will likely continue at similar levels from January to April 2020, reaching an average 18 percent of the population with an average 45 percent of their kilocalorie needs. Periodic disruptions are expected in areas where insecurity will continue.  

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Food security outcomes are most likely to improve in nearly all counties from October to January, driven by the availability of the dry harvest and continued, relative stability in security conditions that permit improved trade flows and greater household access to seasonally available livestock products, fish, and wild foods. Seasonally lower food prices are also expected to slightly improve food access relative to the lean season, though high prices will continue to limit household purchasing power. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes will remain widespread, as most poor households have inadequate food and income sources to mitigate food gaps or depletion of assets. In counties of high concern, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely to endure despite the harvest, including in Ulang, Maiwut, Maban and Longochuk of Upper Nile and Duk of Jonglei, due to the impact of seasonal flooding and likelihood of periodic disruptions to trade flows and market functioning. In the presence of planned, funded, and likely humanitarian food assistance, Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected in central and northern Unity, including Leer, Mayendit, and Panyijiar, as well as parts of Jonglei, UNS, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Warrap, with food assistance likely to mitigate the occurrence of more extreme outcomes. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in Yirol East, Cueibet, and Rumbek North of Lakes; Panyikang of UNS; Kapoeta North, Kapoeta East, and Budi of Eastern Equatoria; and Aweil East, Aweil North, Aweil West, and Aweil South of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Current acute malnutrition outcomes in October will likely be sustained, though some additional improvement may occur within the current acute malnutrition levels.

From February to May, food security outcomes are likely to once again deteriorate. Due to cereal production deficits on the household level, most poor households’ food stocks from the 2019/20 harvest are likely to become depleted around February or March. At the same time, the availability of livestock products and other natural food sources will seasonally decline. In addition, with the expectation of returning IDPs and refugees who did not harvest, it is likely that additional pressure will be exerted on available food sources and market supply, contributing to food price increases. Households are expected to face widening food consumption gaps, though based on past trends, food assistance will likely continue to mitigate more severe outcomes in some areas. Additional counties are expected to deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) across Jonglei, Unity, and Eastern Equatoria, such as Canal/Pigi and Pibor of Jonglei, Panyijiar of Unity, and Budi and Kapoeta North of Eastern Equatoria, as well as Aweil South of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. In Leer and Mayendit of Unity, Maban of Upper Nile, and Kapoeta East of Eastern Equatoria, among others, continued access to food assistance will likely mitigate the occurrence of more severe outcomes based on past trends. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will remain widespread elsewhere, including in Yirol East, Cueibet, and Rumbek North of Lakes; Panyikang of UNS; Koch of Unity; and Aweil East, Aweil North, Aweil West of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Households who did not harvest or do not own livestock with few other income sources are most vulnerable to high food prices and are most at risk of Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) during this time. In the event that the peace deal does not hold and a resurgence of conflict prevents populations from moving in search of food sources or restricts humanitarian access for a prolonged period of time, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely.

Events that Might Change the Outlook

Area

Event

Impact on food security outcomes

National

Delays in implementation of the signed peace deal that lead to an uptick in conflict

An increase in conflict events would restrict household movement, disrupt access to markets and collection of wild foods, cause new displacement, and impede delivery of humanitarian assistance. As was observed from 2016 to 2018, more widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes would be expected. In areas of concern, some households who have not harvested, own no livestock, or have limited to no access to food assistance would likely be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). The risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be highest in areas of heavy conflict.   

National

Scale-up in oil production and exports or an increase in other sources of foreign currency earnings with improved accountability

Although an increase in the availability of foreign currency earnings would likely primarily be directed toward loan repayment, some earnings would likely be used to increase imports of basic goods and increase spending on public services, assuming improved accountability also exists. The SSP would likely appreciate slightly, leading to at least a slight decline in food prices to the benefit of household food access. Food security outcomes would be likely to slightly improve, but widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes would still persist given the erosion of household assets and availability of food and income sources.

Cueibet, Rumbek North, and Yirol East of Lakes

 

Escalation of inter-communal conflict and livestock raids

Escalation of inter-communal conflict and livestock raiding in all the three counties of concern would lead to massive loss of lives, livestock and disruption to market and trade flow. This will drive high level of acute food insecurity and therefore Emergency outcome will be widespread and some households will likely be in Catastrophe.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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