• Prolonged conflict and economic instability are the main drivers of food insecurity in South Sudan, causing households to endure large-scale asset losses and livelihoods disruptions for years. Additionally, belowaverage rainfall delayed the start of the 2019 planting season and limited pasture regeneration, keeping livestock body conditions poor.
• Nearly 7 million people will face Crisis (IPC 3) or worse levels of acute food insecurity through July, the period when hunger is most severe, according to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released in June.* The risk of Famine (IPC 5) persists and would be likely if conflict shifts and severely limits household movement and restricts humanitarian access. In parts of Lakes, Jonglei, and Upper Nile states, households will likely experience Catastrophe (IPC 5) outcomes, where destitution and excess mortality are evident.
• Humanitarian assistance is preventing further deterioration in food security, yet the number of people reached remains far below the estimated population in need. Conflict levels in 2019 have been relatively lower than in recent years, but high food prices and insecurity limit household’s ability to access markets, livestock, fish, and wild foods, resulting in persistent and severe food insecurity.
- The IPC is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5). A Famine classification applies to a wider geographical location, while the term Catastrophe (IPC 5) refers to an extreme lack of food at the household level even with full employment of coping strategies. Famine is determined when more than 20 percent of households in an area are classified as experiencing Catastrophe, when the global acute malnutrition level exceeds 30 percent, and when the crude mortality rate exceeds two people per 10,000 persons per day.
• A sustained and unimpeded humanitarian response is critical to saving lives. Since the start of the conflict, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) and its partners—including the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)—have responded to the needs of South Sudan’s most vulnerable and conflict-affected populations through emergency food and nutrition interventions across the country. FFP-supported programs provide life-saving food assistance to more than 1 million people per month, on average.
• FFP also partners with Catholic Relief Services to provide families in Jonglei State with emergency food assistance, expanded access to safe drinking water, and livelihoods interventions, including agricultural training for farming households.
• Additionally, with FFP support, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) helps food-insecure South Sudanese countrywide increase household food production by distributing seeds, tools for planting, and fishing kits. FAO also provides vulnerable families with food vouchers, which can be exchanged at local markets, improving access to nutritious foods and supporting local economies.