Further scale up of food assistance required to prevent Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes remain widespread during the harvesting period, despite a relative improvement in food security situation compared to the peak of the 2019 lean season. The loss of livelihood assets during the protracted conflict and current poor macroeconomic conditions continue to be the primary drivers of high food insecurity, marked by deficits in cereal production, below-normal access to livestock products, and high food prices. In areas worst affected by flooding, additional crop and livestock losses are driving an increase in the population in need and the severity of food insecurity, particularly in parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Eastern Equatoria states.
Food assistance remains a critical source of food in many areas of South Sudan, but the number of beneficiaries reached remains below the level of need. As of mid-December, food assistance reached more than 770,300 flood-affected people. 944,185 people received food assistance in October. However scale up of assistance is required to mitigate food consumption gaps and the use of coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
The seasonal availability of the harvest, wild foods, fish, and livestock products is expected to sustain relatively improved food security outcomes in January. However, food security is expected to deteriorate from February to May as these sources of food decline. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) will likely be widespread as many households experience widening food consumption gaps and increase the use of coping strategies. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in 16 counties in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Eastern Equatoria states. In this period, more than 5.5 million people are anticipated to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the presence of humanitarian food assistance.
As the 2020 lean season progresses, it is possible that some host, IDP, or refugee households would experience Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) without humanitarian food assistance, particularly among households who lost their harvest or did not harvest, do not own livestock, and have few other viable income sources. A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) is also possible in the event of an increase in conflict that prevents populations from moving in search of food sources or restricts humanitarian access for a prolonged period of time. In order to sustain long-term food security improvements and end the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5), full implementation of the September 2018 peace deal, an end to the conflict by all parties, and a scale up of assistance is needed.