More than three million people have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began in December 2013. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has generated nearly 1.9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 2016/17 (50% of which estimated to be children), it has created food insecurity and lack of proper shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI), and it has hindered the access to proper education and healthcare. According to UNOCHA estimates, tens of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed since December 2013. Mortality has been exacerbated by conflict, acute malnutrition and disease, and there continue to be reports of sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, committed by all parties to the conflict.
Despite efforts made to contain famine, 6 million people are in need of urgent assistance - the greatest number of food insecure people ever recorded in South Sudan. The combination of conflict, economic crisis and lack of adequate levels of agricultural production have eroded vulnerable households ability to cope. As of May 2017, 5.5 million people were estimated in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Acute malnutrition remains a major public health emergency in several parts of South Sudan. More than one million children under age 5 are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including more than 273,600 who are severely malnourished. Armed conflict has resulted in massive population displacement, disruptions to people’s livelihoods, trade and access to humanitarian assistance, which remains people’s main source of food in conflict areas. This is compounded by below-average food production and high food prices which have eroded household purchasing power.
The economic crisis has escalated, leaving the urban poor increasingly desperate and destitute. The South Sudanese Pound (SSP) rapidly depreciated in 2016 and 2017, reaching an all-time low of more than 100 SSP to 1 US Dollar in November 2016, and to 160 SSP to 1 US Dollar in July 2017. The cost of living has risen exponentially, while insecurity along main roads has diminished trade and trader’s ability to access hard currency for imports.
Susceptibility to disease has risen after three years of conflict and crisis: more than 2 million cases of malaria werereported from January to November 2016, and the cholera outbreak in 2016 caused more cases and spread to more locations than in 2015. There are rising cases of the deadly tropical disease kala-azar and more than twice the number of counties have been affected by measles outbreaks in 2016 (13) compared to 2015 (5).
More than 1.17 million children aged 3 to 18 years old have lost access to education due to conflict and displacement since December 2013. About 31 per cent of schools open have suffered at least one or more attacks by armed actors. Child marriage is reportedly increasing due to conflict and economic pressures, while an estimated one million children are believed to be in psychological distress.
Similar issues affect the huge number of South Sudanese refugees who found shelters in Uganda, among other countries. At the end of 2016, the number of South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers amounted at almost 2million, with more than a million residing in Uganda. The refugee camps in the norht of the country are overcrowded, with little formed personnel and little resources for the huge number of people hosted. Furhtermore, the ethnic conflict is continuing within the camps, where episodes of inter-communal violence, looting and rape are not isolated.