IPC warns of continuous acute food gap in the country

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

The new Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) report for July has warned that the scale and severity of food insecurity has continued to rise in the country due to continuous conflicts as it has hit the peak of the lean season.

The report also indicated that high proportion of the population is either experiencing large food consumption gaps or engaging in severe coping strategies in an attempt to mitigate food consumption gaps.

“The need for sustained, large-scale humanitarian food assistance remains high across the country,” the new IPC report partly reads.  

Food insecurity is said to be mostly severe in conflict-affected areas of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap as well as in some parts of Upper Nile, Unity, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Eastern Equatoria, and Central Equatoria States respectively.  

The narrative anticipates that the catastrophe was likely in the areas of highest concern during the lean season, especially in parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile States where outcomes were already severe and household coping capacity has been eroded due to the 2019 floods or recent conflicts.

“In these areas, there are pockets of at-risk households with few productive assets and limited to no access to a functioning market who can experience rapid deterioration in acute food insecurity in between food assistance distribution cycles,” the report said.

According to OCHA, 60,850 people have been internally displaced within Pibor Administrative Area since June due to communal conflict.

Additionally, a report released in June confirmed that 37,200 people were displaced from Uror to Nyirol and Akobo West on the same situation.

The IPC report says that urgent and sustained food assistance in the lean season and post-harvest periods was much needed to save lives.

Local currency depreciation, dependence on food imports, and increased transportation costs during the rainy season was driving high and rising food prices, despite improvements in cross-border trade compared to last year.

According to WFP reports, WFP had planned to reach 2.8 million people with double-ration distributions and 1 million people with a single ration in June/July distribution cycle.

The report revealed that humanitarian food assistance remains critical to preventing more extreme food security outcomes at the counties level.

As of July, WFP had pre-positioned 83 percent of planned assistance for a six-month period in areas that are typically inaccessible during the rainy season.

“Due to multiple shocks, including needs associated with COVID-19, the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF) allocated 1.8 million USD to the Food Security and Livelihood Cluster to target 273,000 beneficiaries, particularly in urban settings or locations hosting IDPs or newly returned refugees, where the risk of spreading of COVID-19 and its direct or indirect impacts are highest,” the report says.

In bimodal Greater Equatoria, the June/July first-season maize harvest is underway.

The harvest is expected to be lower than 2019, but similar to the recent five-year average due to lower access to seeds that reduced planted area and damage from desert locusts in parts.

The report highlighted that it was a great concern for conflict affected areas which caused large-scale displacement, disrupted food assistance delivery, and led humanitarians to evacuate.

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