The fourth quarter of 2018 for Unity state saw an overall improvement in access to humanitarian services, however a variety of shocks throughout the period has negatively impacted the ability of communities to meet their needs for the coming months. Irregular rainfall, followed by flooding in October and November destroyed crops. This has resulted in many communities relying on displacement camps or other coping strategies to meet their needs. While conflict related incidents greatly decreased in Panyijiar, Mayendit and Leer, during this period, an increase was observed in cattle-raiding and inter-communal violence in Northern Unity (Rubkona, Guit, Mayom, Abienhom, Pariang) and Koch of Central Unity, hurting livelihoods and access to health, WASH and education services throughout the area.
The overall situation in Leer and Mayendit continued to improve, however losses to livelihoods during the last rainy season and asset depletion from recurrent large-scale conflict since 2013, continued to impact vulnerable populations. Altogether, challenges in food security throughout the state continued and will likely further dependence on humanitarian food assistance in the near future. As noted in the previous reporting period, Abiemnhom and Pariang were relatively secure compared to the rest of Unity State, though did face their own set of shocks early in the quarter such as flooding and pests.
To inform humanitarian actors working outside formal settlement sites, REACH has conducted assessments of hard-to-reach areas in South Sudan since December 2015. Data is collected through interviews on a monthly basis from settlements across the country.
In Unity State, REACH interviewed 937 Key Informants (KIs) in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians (PoC) site, Nyal Town, and Ajuong Thok settlement in the fourth quarter of 2018 (October, November, December). The KIs were from 458 unique settlements situated in all 9 counties in the state. Survey findings were triangulated through 3 food security and livelihoods (FSL) focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted in Bentiu and Nyal, and with secondary data.
This Situation Overview focuses on changes in observed humanitarian needs across Unity State in the fourth quarter of 2018. The first section analyses protection challenges, displacement and population movement, and the second evaluates access to food and basic services.