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Escalating conflict threatens food access for displaced households in South Kordorfan

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • March 2015
Escalating conflict threatens food access for displaced households in South Kordorfan

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected outlook through June 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Ongoing hostilities between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and armed opposition groups in parts of South Kordofan, Darfur and Blue Nile states have caused new waves of displacement in these areas. The number of Sudanese refugees arriving in Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan continued to increase in February. 

    • Cereal to daily wage labor terms of trade have begun to decline seasonally in most markets. Sorghum and millet prices remain stable or have increased slightly due to increased cereal purchase by commercial traders and the National Strategic Grain Reserve Corporation. 

    • Households in conflict areas have little or no access to humanitarian assistance, and currently face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.

    Current Situation

    Hostilities between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-N) have intensified in northern areas of the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan (near Kalugi) in recent weeks, reducing access to food, seasonal income, and humanitarian assistance. During the first two weeks of March, nearly 25,000 thousand people fled to main towns under control of SAF and to nearby villages and caves in the Nuba mountains, and also to Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan. The number of new arrivals in Yida refugee camp has steadily increased from an average of 672 refugees per week in January to 712 per week in February, to 1,000 refugees per week in March.

    Sporadic fighting continues in Darfur, between SAF and armed movements, and between rival communities. High levels of insecurity persist, and continue to cause destruction and disrupt livelihoods activities in several localities, particularly in East Jebel Marra in South Darfur; Golo, Geldo, and Nyertiti localities in Central Darfur; and Tawila, Korma, Um Baru and Karnoi localities in North Darfur. Since early 2015, more than 32,500 people have been newly displaced in Central and North Darfur, according to aid agencies. Of much concern are the newly displaced populations trapped in conflict areas of Jebel Mara, who are inaccessible to humanitarian agencies due to insecurity. 

    UNICEF and other nutrition partners screened 26,300 children in February using Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) in Tawila, Um Baru, and rural EL Fasher localities in North Darfur, and in Gereida and Kass localities in South Darfur State. Results from these screenings indicate a prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) of 10 percent and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) of 1 percent. These relatively low levels of acute malnutrition are consistent with the post-harvest period, and also reflect ongoing humanitarian assistance in these areas. 

    Staple food prices indicated mixed seasonal trends in February as the completion of main season harvests approaches. Retail sorghum and millet prices remained relatively stable or increased slightly in most markets. The highest increases in sorghum prices from January to February were observed in Nyala, South Darfur, and El Obied, North Kordofan where prices increased by 12 and 6 percent, respectively. Millet price increases were highest in Kadugli, South Kordofan, and El Obied where prices increased by 10 and 5 percent, respectively. The slight rise in prices in these areas is mainly due to increasing demand, particularly from traders who are expanding tradable stocks. In addition, the Strategic Grain Reserve Corporation has also increased cereal purchases in order to bolster national grain reserves and prevent further decline of sorghum prices during the harvest period.

    Sorghum to daily wage labor terms of trade (ToT) have started to decline seasonally, as demand for agricultural wage labor decreases. For example, sorghum to daily wage labor ToT in Gadaref declined by 13 percent between January and February (Figure 1). Similar trends were observed in most markets across Sudan in February, although declines were sharper in Darfur markets.  On average, current ToT between sorghum and daily wage labor are similar to last year. 

    Updated Assumptions

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

    Projected outlook through June 2015

    Food security conditions are expected to remain relatively stable in the coming months, except among IDPs and poor host communities in areas of South Kordofan, Darfur and Blue Nile states affected by ongoing conflict. In these areas livelihood activities remain limited due to high levels of civil insecurity. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity are likely to persist among at least 25 to 30 percent of IDPS and poor host communities in these areas. Of much concern are populations isolated by recent conflict in Jebel Marra and the Nuba Mountains. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1: Sorghum to daily wage labor terms of trade in Gadaref State, 2013 to 2015

    Figure 2

    Figure 1: Sorghum to daily wage labor terms of trade in Gadaref State, 2013 to 2015

    Source: FEWS NET/ FAMIS

    Figure 3


    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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