Skip to main content

Continued conflict, coupled with floods, drive Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in multiple areas

  • Key Message Update
  • South Sudan
  • November 2022
Continued conflict, coupled with floods, drive Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in multiple areas

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • South Sudan continues to face extremely high levels of acute food insecurity during the harvesting period. In November, an estimated 6.6 million people remain acutely food insecure in the presence of ongoing humanitarian food assistance. High levels of acute food insecurity continue to be driven by protracted conflict, consecutive years of flooding, and a macroeconomic crisis characterized by rising food and non-food prices. More than half of the population in Jonglei, Unity, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Warrap, and Lakes is assessed to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.

    • Of extreme concern are Fangak, Canal/Pigi, and Akobo of Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, where households are likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) given extended asset erosion linked to protracted conflict, insecurity, and flooding. While the number of households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) is likely to decline during the harvesting and post-harvesting period, an resurgent trend is likely during the 2023 lean season. Furthermore, FEWS NET remains concerned for a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in South Sudan given the context of high levels of acute food insecurity and volatility in patterns of conflict, as there remains potential for an unforeseen escalation in conflict to further restrict mobility and isolate a significant number of households who are already experiencing severe hunger from remaining food sources for a prolonged period.

    • Conflict and insecurity persist in many areas, despite the two-year extension of the peace deal, re-commitment to the transitional Government of National Unity, and the graduation of unified forces. Fangak and Canal/Pigi of Jonglei and Malakal, Panyikang, and Fashoda of Upper Nile remained conflict hotspots in November. Further armed clashes erupted in Khor-Atar Ardheb in Canal/Pigi on November 12, involving armed youths loyal to Gen. Johnson and forces allied to Gen. Simon and triggering secondary displacements. Additionally, 36 cattle were raided in Uror and Nyirol by armed youth from Pibor between November 10-17, leading to further movement restrictions and disruptions to trade flows. In Tonj South of Warrap, road ambushes and revenge attacks also occurred in November. In Central Equatoria, tensions continue between armed herders from Dinka Bor and local farmers in Lokiliri Payam of Juba County, resulting in the loss of lives, displacement, the destruction or abandonment of crop fields, and unpredictable disruptions to commercial, humanitarian, and population movements along the Juba-Nimule Road.

    • The main season and second-season harvests are ongoing in multiple areas of South Sudan. According to key informants, harvesting of groundnuts, long-maturing sorghum, and sesame are underway or nearly completed in most of Lakes; Mundri East, Yambio, and Ezo counties of Western Equatoria; rural areas of Juba in Central Equatoria; and Magwi and Torit counties of Eastern Equatoria. Meanwhile, second-season maize and bean crops in Yei, Lainya, and Morobo of Central Equatoria and most counties of Western Equatoria are at the late-maturing stage, while ratoon sorghum crops are at the late-maturing to harvesting stage in Greater Kapoeta. Although the 2022 FAO Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) report is not yet available, preliminary assessments by FAO indicate the harvest is likely to be similar to or somewhat lower than last year at national level. The harvest is expected to be better than last year in Greater Equatoria, which accounts for roughly 50 percent of production, but worse than last year in Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile.

    • The impacts of flooding range from significant to severe in Upper Nile, Jonglei, Pibor, Lakes, Warrap, Abyei, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Eastern and Western Equatoria. Although a flood situation update for November is not yet available from UN agencies, OCHA reported in late October that over 1 million people have been affected by torrential rainfall and flooding in 36 counties. The floods have caused an unknown number of human deaths, the loss of livestock, and destroyed farmlands and infrastructure. According to a preliminary analysis of about 625,000 km² of land in South Sudan conducted by UNOSAT in mid-November using the VIIRS satellite, roughly 41,000 km² is still atypically inundated. Furthermore, additional flooding in late 2022 is likely in Sudd Wetland and river basin areas given rising water levels upstream in Uganda and continued above-average rainfall in parts of central and northeastern South Sudan, which will likely cause post-harvest losses.

    • However, while additional flooding is expected in some wetland and river basin areas, a reduction in the overall national flood extent is expected in the coming months. According to the same UNOSAT analysis, overall flood extent appears to have already decreased by about 10,000 km² since late October. While atypical rainfall amounts are still observed in some areas, the June to September main rainy season has ended in the northwestern and pastoral areas of eastern Pibor and Greater Kapoeta and the rains are expected to gradually subside more broadly. In addition, in bimodal areas in southern and western South Sudan, recently updated forecasts from the NMME and WMO suggest that the July-November 2022 second rainy season is most likely to conclude at near-average levels in most areas, which – alongside a timely end of rains – would support favorable harvesting conditions.

    • Livestock production in many flood-affected areas remains affected by saturated or inaccessible pasture and browse and contaminated water, which are causing poor health and diseases. In severely flood-affected areas, livestock body conditions are generally poor, and cases of water-borne diseases are reported due to limited access to veterinary services. According to field information and key informant reports, nine cases of livestock deaths attributed to anthrax were reported in Aweil South. Additionally, increasing cases of Liver-Fluke, Food and Mouth Disease, and Black Quarter have been reported in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, Lakes, Unity, and Jonglei state.  According to key informants, pasture and browse conditions are fair to poor in Maiwut, Duk, Mayendit, and Kapoeta due to floodwater and a prolonged dry spell, while they are generally fair in Torit County.

    • Based on market monitoring data in November, the retail price of a malwa (3.5 kg) of white sorghum is roughly 120-300 percent higher than the same period of last year and 200-290 percent above the five-year average in Bor South, Rumbek Centre, Juba, and Aweil Centre. High staple food prices are driven by low local production and high import costs, with the latter exacerbated by high fuel prices and local currency depreciation relative to the USD. High food prices are pushing up the cost of living, with the cost of the Minimum Expenditure Basket (CMEB) reaching around 60-110 percent higher than last year in Western Equatoria, Lakes, Central Equatoria, and Aweil, according to CLiMIS data. Based on this trend and the stagnant-to-declining in wage rates, households who depend on causal labor income to purchase sorghum have seen the amount they can buy with a day’s wage drop by nearly 40 and 85 percent in Juba and Aweil, respectively, since Nov. 2021.

    • Although WFP’s monthly food distribution data for November is not yet available, a weekly distribution report for November 13 shows food assistance deliveries are being prioritized to populations in counties assessed to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), especially those with populations in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). In Fangak, WFP completed distributions in Keew, Paguer, and Old Fangak, but distributions in Juaibor, Nyadin, and New Fangak were recently suspended due to lack of aircraft. Other locations where delivery of food has been suspended due to the lack of aircraft include the Ulang, Gaireang, Gum Meer, Ngueny, and Mading areas in Upper Nile and the Gumuruk and Lekuangole areas in lower Pibor. In Canal/Pigi, deliveries remain suspended due to insecurity and limited air operations. Meanwhile, in Akobo East, food distributions commenced in mid-November, reaching 2,976 individuals in Wanding. Distributions were also completed in November in Leer, Mayendit, and Rumbek North of Unity despite delayed deliveries due to flooding. Food distributions under BHA Ukraine Supplemental funding also resumed in the Jikmir, Nassir, and Fashoda areas in Upper Nile.

    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