Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.60 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.4.70 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.50 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.4.60 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.4.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Humanitarian Access Overview
South Sudan Scenarios: Movement patterns and humanitarian needs
South Sudan: Access to basic needs and services
South Sudan: Analysis Ecosystem
Since December 2013, South Sudan has experienced intermittent civil war and intercommunal and localised violence. This environment has resulted in widespread insecurity, large-scale internal displacement, increased refugee outflow to Sudan and Uganda, and deteriorating food security. As at January 2021, 8.3 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance.?
The latest peace agreement in South Sudan – the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan – was signed in 2018. The agreement has led to a fragile truce and resulted in the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in February 2020. While hostility between the Government and the main opposition has decreased, localised violence has surged because of conflict over land and resources, cattle raiding, and reprisal attacks.?
The surge in intercommunal violence throughout South Sudan affected more civilians in 2020 than in 2019. There were 5,800 victims of killing, injury, abduction, and conflict-related sexual violence in 2020 – an increase from the 2,631 victims reported in 2019. In 2020, Jonglei state and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area were most affected by conflict, accounting for 33% of the total civilian victims. The compounded effects of intercommunal violence and floods in these areas affected 528,000 people and displaced at least 147,000 people as at the end of 2020.?
Since 2013, nearly four million people have been displaced, including 1.6 million IDPs and 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees. South Sudan hosts about 319,000 refugees from Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic.?
INFORM estimates South Sudan's humanitarian crisis and disaster risk for 2021 to be very high, at 8.4/10. The lack of coping capacity is estimated at 9.4/10, and vulnerability is estimated at 8.7/10. ?
On 6 September, clashes in Tambura town (Western Equatoria state) killed 24 people and wounded 13. Since the conflict started in June, nearly 80,000 people have been displaced. They have needs across all sectors. There are significant humanitarian access challenges as a result of the conflict and disruption to road networks caused by the rainy season.?
Very high constraints
Humanitarian access in South Sudan is stable but remains highly constrained. Communal violence is a major issue in the country and has led to the internal displacement of at least 1.6 million people. Since attacks by armed men, revenge killings, and roadside ambushes are common, it is often dangerous for people to travel to areas where they can access humanitarian assistance. In the first quarter of 2021, there were at least 24 incidents of roadside ambushes targeting aid convoys. Humanitarian organisations often face fines at checkpoints located all over the country, particularly when transporting humanitarian cargo. In some areas such as Renk county, Upper Nile state, youth groups stalled the operations of humanitarian agencies for several months by imposing conditions on them, often related to the request for employment opportunities. South Sudan has one of the world’s highest rates of violent incidents against humanitarian workers. From January–May 2021, ten humanitarian workers were killed, 31 injured, and one abducted. Humanitarian staff is often targeted for various reasons, including the ethnicity of local aid workers. There have been several instances of suspension of humanitarian efforts and relocation of staff caused by violence in certain areas. The presence of landmines and poor road conditions make operations particularly challenging in some areas and further complicate travel within South Sudan.
Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.
An estimated 7.24 million people (60% of the country’s population) will be facing Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above) levels of food insecurity in South Sudan for the projected period of April–July 2021. This is an increase of almost one million people compared to the 6.35 million who faced Crisis or worse levels in the period October–November 2020. In the last months of 2020, an estimated 24,000 people were already facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) levels of acute food insecurity in Pibor county in the Pibor Administrative Area and in Tonj North county in Warrap state (11,000 and 13,000 people respectively). It is estimated that an additional 7,000 people will experience IPC Phase 5 levels in Northern Bahr el Ghazal for the projected period of April–July 2021.?
Elevated levels of food insecurity are contributing to high levels of malnutrition; about 1.4 million children under five years old are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021 – the highest number in three years.?
Key drivers of the high levels of acute food insecurity in the country include flooding, conflict and insecurity, and population displacements, as well as diseases and pests that negatively affect crop production, access to food, and livelihoods. In 2020, communities in nine out of South Sudan's ten states harvested, on average, 50% less cereal and vegetables compared to 2019. The beginning of the lean season (March–August) could increase food insecurity levels in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, Unity, and Lakes states. The economic crisis (linked to the fall in oil prices), compounded by the effects of COVID-19, and the overall limited access to basic services have also contributed to asset depletion and loss of livelihoods, increasing food insecurity and malnutrition across the country.?
Impact of COVID-19
As at 4 January 2021, South Sudan had registered 3,558 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths.?
Despite efforts to contain the number of COVID-19 cases as well as sensitisation campaigns, stigmatisation against people wearing masks in public or within families is not uncommon, while some continue to deny the existence of the virus. Resistance to complying with measures is posing a serious challenge to the response’s effectiveness.?
The effects of COVID-19-related measures have disrupted livelihoods and economic activities as well as slowed down and restricted the flow and delivery of both commercial and humanitarian supplies and services. Although most COVID-19-related restrictions were lifted in May, the consequences are still felt across the country. The overall demand for labour and services remains low, despite a gradual increase in business activities in urban areas. The impacts of COVID-19 are also expected to persist into 2021, further affecting levels of food security across the country.?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information related to the outbreak, see the ACAPS COVID-19 Project.
The health sector in South Sudan has been facing many challenges since the country gained independence ten years ago. Protracted conflict, the effects of climate change, high poverty levels, and inadequate infrastructure have slowed down efforts to improve the healthcare system. Insufficient government funding has resulted in inadequate and understaffed public health facilities. Many health workers choose to work in private health facilities or for NGOs. Consequently, NGOs have attempted to support the Government in offering health services, but they also face funding constraints. Only 40% of all health care facilities in South Sudan are currently operational. ?
For most South Sudanese, accessing healthcare remains a big challenge because of poor infrastructure in remote areas and lack of ambulances. For many, the only way to reach health centres is on foot, with journeys spanning several hours or even days. This causes deaths from treatable diseases, especially in remote areas, as some patients die during the journey to seek medical attention. According to UNICEF data for 2019, South Sudan had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, with 62 deaths for every 1,000 live births. With 80% of the population below the poverty line, the cost of healthcare is an additional barrier to access. ?
Health workers often fall victim to violence in South Sudan, facing threats, intimidation, and frequent attacks. In 2020, at least 19 health workers were killed and eight injured. ?