Skip to main content

Significant, flood-induced crop losses in 2019 likely to drive high assistance needs in 2020

  • Key Message Update
  • South Sudan
  • November 2019
Significant, flood-induced crop losses in 2019 likely to drive high assistance needs in 2020

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Although the availability of the main harvest, seasonal livestock products, and fish and wild foods has relatively reduced the severity of food insecurity in many areas of South Sudan, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes remain widespread. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is present in Ulang, Maiwut, and Maban of Upper Nile and Duk of Jonglei, driven by flood-induced crop losses and disruptions to food assistance delivery and market functioning. As flood waters recede, households in flood-affected areas are likely to benefit from enhanced fish and wild food availability and to regain access to food assistance; however, they are expected to face large cereal deficits and an early start to the 2020 lean season. Food assistance needs in early 2020 will likely be higher than late 2019, given already high needs in 2019 and the expectation of refugee returns. Should a resurgence of conflict prevent populations from accessing natural food sources or food assistance, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be likely in areas where food insecurity is already severe.

    • Security conditions remain relatively calm after the extension of the pre-transitional period by an additional 100 days from November 12 to enable the parties to implement outstanding issues, including security arrangements and administrative divisions. No large-scale conflict events were reported in November, though some armed clashes between government forces and non-signatory armed groups occurred in Central Equatoria. Overall, improved security continues to facilitate relatively better trade flows of locally produced and imported food commodities. However, insecurity and road ambushes remain common in Greater Equatoria, while recent heavy rain and flooding have impeded trade flows and market functioning in Greater Upper Nile and parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria. River transportation routes remain functional from Sudan to Leer, Juba to Adok Port, and Ethiopia to Maiwut.

    • As previously reported, the June to September main rainfall season culminated in severe flooding that affected nearly 1 million people, more than a third of whom are located in Maban of Upper Nile and along the river Pibor in Pibor of Jonglei. The floods have affected areas that were already experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, given poor households’ high levels of vulnerability due to the erosion of food and incomes sources during the protracted conflict and humanitarian access constraints. In Greater Upper Nile region, more than 3 million people – equivalent to more than 60 percent of the population – were in need of assistance and facing high, ‘Critical’ (GAM WHZ 15-29.9 percent) levels of acute malnutrition prior to the start of the floods in October. The population in need has now likely risen.

    • Although analysis of satellite-derived data shows that many flood-affected areas are not major cropping areas, a preliminary estimate by FAO indicates approximately 72,611 MT of cereals have potentially been lost in 36 flood-affected counties. Further, due to flooding, post-harvest losses in 2019 are expected to exceed the typical national average of 20 percent, based on previous Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) data. Additionally, an estimated 3 million heads of livestock are likely to have been affected by loss of forage, waterborne disease, injury, or death. Final verification of the impact on crop and livestock production will be conducted by the national FAO/WFP CFSAM in late December or early January 2020.

    • Although data on humanitarian food assistance (HFA) distribution in October is not yet available, an analysis of September HFA distribution data indicates that HFA continues to mitigate more extreme outcomes in parts of Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile. Based on this information, Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) is likely in 22 counties in November. Although flooding has made some roads impassable, primarily in Greater Upper Nile, HFA delivery to the flood-affected population is underway. As of  mid-November, WFP has reached more than 585,000 flood-affected people with food and nutrition assistance, including 11 percent of the population in Pibor, and accessibility will gradually improve as flood waters recede.

    • Depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound, low cereal supply, and disruptions to trade flows continue to drive high staple food prices. Trade in late October and early November may have also been negatively affected by political uncertainty surrounding the peace deal. A FEWS NET rapid assessment of Konyokonyo market in Juba found that traders were not stocking during this period, due to anticipation of losing their goods. Despite slight declines in the retail price of cereals at the start of the harvesting period, prices generally remain above October 2018 and the five-year average. In October, the retail price of a malwa (3.5 kg) of white sorghum ranged from 157 to 160 percent above October 2018 and ranged from 215 to 348 percent above the October five-year average in Juba, Aweil, and Wau reference markets.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top