South Sudan

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Partners respond to needs of influx of IDPs in Pibor
  • More than 700,000 flood-affected people receive assistance in worst hit areas
  • Measles outbreak confirmed in Ikotos County, Eastern Equatoria
  • South Sudan: Three humanitarian workers killed
  • Rising concerns about unmet mental health needs in South Sudan
In Akobo, a mother feeds her child nutritious supplementary food. More than 6.35 million people were severely food insecure in August. Credit: Medair
In Akobo, a mother feeds her child nutritious supplementary food. More than 6.35 million people were severely food insecure in August. Credit: Medair

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South Sudan

Situation Report

Key Figures

7.2M
People in need
5.7M
People targeted
1.47M
Internally displaced people
4.54M
Acutely food insecure (Sept-Dec)

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South Sudan

Situation Report

Funding

$1.5B
Required
$1.1B
Received
76%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Stephen O'Malley

Head of Office

Emmi Antinoja

Head of Communications and Information Management

South Sudan

Situation Report
Emergency Response
Number of IDPs in UNMISS Adjacent Area in Pibor town by sex and age.
Number of IDPs in UNMISS Adjacent Area in Pibor town by sex and age.

Partners respond to needs of influx of IDPs in Pibor

Since mid-February, thousands of people have fled the ongoing inter-communal clashes in several areas of Jonglei State in South Sudan. Humanitarians on the ground have been mobilizing resources and coordinating the response to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection to the affected-people.

Inter-communal fighting, cattle raiding and revenge attacks between armed youth groups have been reported in Akobo, Nyirol and Pibor counties, all in Jonglei. Casualties are reported to be large, but the exact number of wounded and dead remains unknown. In Manyabol and Likuangole towns, the hardest-hit locations in Pibor County, government buildings, civilian houses, humanitarian facilities and other buildings were burnt down to the ground. Dead bodies of humans and animals are reportedly in the streets in Likuangole town.

Fleeing their homes, civilians walked for hours, seeking safety at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan Area Adjacent (UNMISS AA) site. Nearly 8,500 people from 1,522 households were registered at the UNMISS AA site on of 6 March. In addition, other displaced people are sheltering in bushes, west of Pibor, and some 450 people are taking refuge in Bor County. In Akobo and Nyirol counties, an estimated 16,000 people have been affected.

Civilians, mainly women, children and elderly, who arrived at the UNMISS AA site reported that the violence had devastated the areas with houses and livelihoods ravaged. Families are separated and there are reports of children and women being abducted by armed groups. A woman who fled the violence in Manyabol town and arrived in the UNMISS AA site said that her ten children were separated from her when they fled the violence and she did not ascertain their whereabouts. The situation on the ground remains fluid with population movements. Humanitarian organizations have conducted need assessments that identified food, shelter, household items, health care, clean water and sanitation services as immediate needs.

“Needs are huge, but resources are limited on the ground with some humanitarian workers are relocated from Pibor due to insecurity. OCHA has coordinated two assessments and more assessments are ongoing. OCHA has mobilized humanitarian partners to ensure the pressing needs of people are addressed while advocating for more resources and capacity to respond to the evolving needs,” said Richard Luguma, OCHA National Field Coordination Officer who is coordinating the frontline response in Pibor.

Humanitarians have scaled up response for the displaced people at the UNMISS AA site—distributing food; providing access to clean water; establishing of health facilities; conducting nutrition screening with the provision of nutritional support; providing routine vaccination; setting up sanitation facilities; and distributing personal hygiene items for women and girls. However, more support is still needed, including emergency shelters and household items such as mosquito nets, cooking utensils, water containers, blankets and sleeping mats.

“South Sudanese and international non-governmental organizations play a crucial role in responding to the needs of people, providing humanitarian assistance and protection services at the frontline. OCHA is working closely with partners to ensure the affected-people receive assistance they need,” said Richard.

Pibor County has already had significant humanitarian needs as a result of conflict, food insecurity and natural disasters. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released in February, Akobo, Nyirol and Pibor counties, which are affected by the ongoing inter-communal clashes linked to cattle raiding, are expected to be suffering from an emergency level of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4) between February and April. These areas were hardest-hit by the unusually severe flooding in the second half of 2019. The entire community was submerged with people displaced, houses and farmland destroyed, and basic services and markets were non-functional.

“Resilience of the people is incredible, “Richard remarks and continues” “They have been affected by multiple humanitarian crises that uprooted their lives and livelihoods. Women in Pibor who have started vegetable gardening after the floods told me that their gardens were destroyed during the clashes. They have to start all over again. They need sustained support from the donors and humanitarian community to rebuild their livelihoods when they can go back to their homes.”

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South Sudan

Situation Report
Emergency Response
Pibor Flooding 20190711 UNICEF SS Maria de la Guardia 111
Pibor Flooding. Credit: UNICEF

More than 700,000 flood-affected people receive assistance in worst hit areas

Generous and timely contributions of over $47 million from donors has allowed humanitarian organizations to scale-up flood responses in some of the worst affected areas across South Sudan. The funding represents 76 per cent of the $61.5 million appeal.

The worst seasonal flooding South Sudan has seen in many years, has caused extreme destruction to lives and livelihoods of nearly one million people. Over 620,000 people needed immediate humanitarian assistance.

The flood water in some locations have destroyed homes, displaced families, crops, rendered basic services and markets non-functional, particularly in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Eastern Equatoria and parts of Central Equatoria. Basic infrastructure has also been damaged, including boreholes now contaminated with tainted water.

Preliminary forecasts also show that 75,000 hectares of cultivated land has been damaged due to flooding in affected areas, with an estimated loss of 73,000 metric tons of cereals. This represents approximately 15 per cent loss in production in the affected areas.

As of 29 November, about 7000 metric tons of food commodities have been distributed to some 700, 000 flood-affected people across the country, with distributions continuing into other priority locations. Additional response teams have been deployed to the affected areas to rapidly expand the life-saving registration and distribution.

In Akobo and Ayod counties of Jonglei, 11,000 households have received agricultural inputs, vegetable seeds and fishing kits. More distributions, targeting 65,000 families are taking place in the affected-counties in Upper Nile, Jonglei, Unity and Abyei. Some 2,500 households have been assisted with the minimum water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) packages.

9,000 households have been assisted with the Emergency Flood Rapid Response Kits, while distribution to 12,000 families is currently underway. The emergency kits contain plastic sheets; mosquito nets; blanket; filter cloth; pur sachets; aquatabs; collapsible jerry can and a fishing kit. More than 220 metric tons of emergency aid items—assorted food items, health, nutrition, shelter, protection and WASH supplies—have made their way to priority locations via air and waterway.

Despite the response, physical access due to increasing flood waters has constrained the scale-up, making delivery of emergency relief supplies to flood affected people slow. Humanitarian organizations are using air and waterways to transport aid to hard-to-reach locations. In some areas where water levels remain high, particularly in Pibor in Jonglei, the affected people have had to walk through mud and water to the distribution points.  To increase access and response activities, humanitarian organization and local community members are repairing roads as quickly as is permittable, particularly in the Maban area, one of the worst hit by the flooding.

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South Sudan

Situation Report
Feature
Map of counties affected by measles in 2019
Map of counties affected by measles in 2019

Measles outbreak confirmed in Ikotos County, Eastern Equatoria

A measles outbreak has been confirmed in Ikotos County, Eastern Equatoria after four samples from suspect cases tested positive. At least 28 suspect cases, including eight related deaths, have been reported in Kidepo valley, Ikotos County between 12 and 20 November 2019. The most affected age group are children under five years of age; cases were also mainly reported among refugee returnees from Uganda.

According to the authorities, the number of cases are increasing daily, and some residents have resorted to using local medicines. Local authorities have urged humanitarian organizations to coordinate efforts to help address the outbreak, noting that the state urgently needs vaccines and supplies. An emergency health team has been dispatched to Kidepo valley in Ikotos County, to respond to escalating cases of measles.

These outbreak come in addition to already reported outbreaks in 19 counties including Budi and Torit counties in Eastern Equatoria, Juba county and Juba PoC site in Central Equatoria, Pibor county in Jonglei, Aweil East, Aweil South and Aweil West counties in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Gogrial East, Gogrial West, Tonj North and Tonj South counties in Warrap, Wau and Jur River counties, and Wau PoC site in Western Bahr el Ghazal, Mayom county and Bentiu PoC site in Unity, Malakal, Melut and Renk counties in Upper Nile and Yambio county in­ Western Equatoria since the begining of 2019.

Overall, a total of 3,875 suspected cases, including 23 related deaths, have been reported in the country between January and 10 November 2019, according to World Health Organization data. Pibor county, an area, worst affected by the floods recorded the highest number of cases with a total of 2,056, including nine deaths. Of those, about 71 per cent of the cases are children under 5 years of age, and 32 per cent of the cases reported are not vaccinated against measles.

Since the outbreak was declared in January 2019, humanitarian organizations have conducted vaccination campaigns and reached more than 689,900 children aged six months to 15 years in the counties of Pibor, Abyei, Gogrial West, Aweil South, Melut, Gogrial East, Juba, Tonj North, Tonj South, Aweil West, Aweil East, Renk, Wau, Tonj North, Jur River, Yambio and Budi as well as Bentiu, Juba, Malakal and Wau Protection of Civilians sites.

Humanitarians have reported that the major factors for a measles outbreak in South Sudan are low vaccination coverage, malnutrition, population movements, and overcrowded internally displaced camps. The low coverage which was about 59 per cent, well below the desired thresholds of 90 to 95 per cent, was in turn, attributed to low access to basic healthcare, estimated at 44 per cent, and insecurity affecting health facilities.

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South Sudan

Situation Report
Access

South Sudan: Three humanitarian workers killed

On 27 October, three International Organization for Migration (IOM) volunteers, one female and two males, were killed in a crossfire during clashes that broke out between armed groups in South Sudan. Two other volunteers were wounded during the incident and one volunteer is currently missing.

The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, strongly condemned the killings and called for the safety and security of humanitarian workers at all times. He also demanded that those responsible for the acts be brought to justice.

“Humanitarian workers risk their lives every day to provide life-saving assistance to people in need in South Sudan. Their safety and security must be assured at all times,” he said.

IOM has suspended Ebola virus disease screening at five sites along the border with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and put on hold its support to health facilities in the area.

This is the first killing of aid workers reported in South Sudan since 2018.

At least 115 aid workers have been killed since the start of the conflict in December 2013. Most have been South Sudanese nationals.

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South Sudan

Situation Report
Feature
Number of suicide cases reportedat Malakal Protection of Civilians site by gender between January 2018 and July 2019.
Number of suicide cases reported at Malakal Protection of Civilians site by gender between January 2018 and July 2019.

Rising concerns about unmet mental health needs in South Sudan.

The legacy of conflict, displacement and lack of mental health services in South Sudan gives cause for rising concern in the country. In Upper Nile suicides and suicide attempts have been recorded especially among young adults in Malakal Protection of Civilians (PoC) site and Malakal town.

Ninety-five suicide and self-harm cases were reported from Malakal between January 2018 and July 2019. Of those, the majority were attempted suicides and self-harm cases, with more than half of those attempts done by women. Two thirds were people between the age of 19 and 35.

Whilst systematic research hasn’t yet been undertaken, focus group discussions with internally displaced persons from the PoC and with residents from Malakal town, conducted by the Upper Nile Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Working Group, attribute the high number of attempted suicide and self-harm cases to the long-term effects of years of conflict, violence and displacement. Mental health problems, family disputes and interpersonal conflicts, domestic violence, socio-economic hardship, unemployment and challenging living conditions are some of the contributing factors. Furthermore, drug abuse increases the risk of suicidal tendencies.

The mental health care system in the country is weak. South Sudan has only three psychiatrists serving the entire population, and only one psychiatric inpatient ward with a 12-bed capacity in Juba. The situation is much worse in the most conflict-affected parts of the country, including Upper Nile.

Yet suicide is preventable. Prevention is one of the most effective ways to reduce the burden.

Different MHPSS actors have scaled up their suicide prevention strategies. Key messages are being passed to individuals, families and communities. Aid agencies are conducting awareness-raising sessions, addressing the stigma and taboo attached to suicide, and are working with other humanitarian organizations to improve access to socio-economic opportunities for the site’s young population. In addition, community leaders in the site have been trained as mental health first aiders and are disseminating key messages on suicide prevention to communities.

In 2013, conflict forced most of the population in Malakal town and surrounding areas to flee their homes, with some seeking shelter in the UNMISS protected site in Malakal. The site population peaked at just under 48,000 individuals in August 2015 and has since reduced to some 30,000 people, per the population head count conducted by humanitarians at the end of September 2019. Nearly 52 per cent of the people currently sheltering in the site are women who face risks of violence daily. Women and girls who must leave the camp in search of firewood are particularly at risk.

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South Sudan

Situation Report
Feature
Estimated beneficiaries by age and sex
Estimated beneficiaries by age and sex

South Sudan Humanitarian Fund allocates US$36 million to respond to life-saving needs

The South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF) has allocated US$36 million under the second standard allocation of the year, targeting an estimated 1.3 million people. Fifty-six per cent of the beneficiaries are women and girls.

The funds will allow about 212,000 vulnerable South Sudanese to access mobile health services and some 130,000 individuals to access safe water. Nearly 160,000 children will be vaccinated against measles to stem the spread of the disease; some 145,000 infants and young children will access feeding counselling; and nearly 33,000 children will receive meals at school. Some 576,000 individuals will receive vegetable kits consisting of seeds and tools, improving families’ self-sufficiency and access to food. Some 103,000 people will receive essential household items, and nearly 103,000 internally displaced persons will benefit from site management activities in Protection of Civilians sites and collective centers.;

This is the first time that an integrated multi-sector approach to the humanitarian response was introduced during the allocation process since the pooled fund was established, with $16.5 million allocated for 31 projects implemented by more than one humanitarian cluster. Activities undertaken by humanitarian organizations working across sectors include mitigating underlying causes of high mortality, like severe malnutrition in children under 5 years of age, and targeting schools with WASH activities and hygiene campaigns.

Some $15 million representing 42 per cent of the total allocation were channeled to local NGOs, in line with the Grand Bargain localization agenda, which emphasizes the promotion of principled humanitarian action that is “as local as possible and as international as necessary”. Another 45 per cent was allocated to international NGOs and 13 per cent to United Nations agencies.

The 26 counties targeted by the SSHF funding are Morobo, Kajo-Keji and Yei in Central Equatoria; Akobo, Bor South, Canal/Pigi, Duk, Pibor and Twic East in Jonglei; Cueibet, Rumbek Centre, Rumbek East, Yirol East and Yirol West in Lakes; Aweil East and Aweil South in Northern Bahr el Ghazal; Koch, Luakpiny/Nasir, Panyijiar, Pariang and Rubkona in Unity; Tonj North and Twic in Warrap; and Jur River, Raga and Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal.

The second standard allocation brings the total funding allocated by the pooled fund in 2019 to $70.5 million. The funds are used to implement 167 projects to support response to unmet humanitarian needs and implementation of priority sectoral activities outlined in the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan. The SSHF enables targeting of funds to the most critical needs, and improves efficiency and timely response to emergencies in the country.

The SSHF is a multi-donor pooled fund that supports the allocation and disbursement of donor resources to meet the most critical needs in harmonized ways to create greater overall impact. New contributions are urgently needed to continue addressing the most critical needs of the vulnerable people.

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Media

Watch Joyce Asha Francis, an OCHA National Field Officer in Malakal, talk about being a woman humanitarian and the challenge that it brings.

Forty-six year old Joyce Asha Francis is an OCHA National Field Officer in Malakal, South Sudan’s Upper Nile Region. She was born in Uganda and lives in Kenya, but her roots are in South Sudan. She has been a humanitarian for practically all of her working life. She is a mother of five children.

OCHA asked her about what being a woman humanitarian meant to her, the good parts and the challenges. She answered:

“Being a humanitarian to me means love, compassion, kindness, generosity, being cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, humble and being culturally sensitive, in order to save lives, relieve suffering and maintain the human dignity of the affected people. Without the above listed qualities, one can hardly endure to be a humanitarian worker.

“The most favourite part of my work is around general coordination and providing leadership to ensure that basic services reach the people in need. It is fulfilling to see us humanitarian workers running around to get work done and the people talk of how the services that are there now have changed their lives.

“The most challenging parts of my work are resource mobilization and access. In an event that resources are limited and are not able to reach the affected people, I feel terrible because a life could be lost due to the inability to provide basic services, or the inability to reach people due to poor communication networks or human-imposed barricades. This hurts a lot.”

Watch this video to learn more about Joyce’s experiences coordinating humanitarian action in one of the most challenging places in the world.

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