Remote monitoring highlights humanitarian situation in hard-to-reach areas of South Sudan

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REACH has just published the first series of reports providing comprehensive information about the humanitarian situation in Unity State, South Sudan. The report covers 38 conflict-affected communities within the state and describes ongoing humanitarian needs related to water and sanitation, food security, health and education. It also provides detailed information about drivers of displacement in Unity State, providing valuable information to help humanitarian actors predict future displacement trends.

Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in December 2013, Unity has been among the worst affected by the ongoing conflict, with almost half a million internally displaced people (IDPs) according to the international Organization for Migration (IOM).  Many communities across Unity are reported to have been completely razed as a result of the conflict, with 45% of respondents reporting that nobody from their community remained. For those that do remain, mostly women and children, the majority are no longer living in their homes and instead stay in the nearby bush with no shelter at all. The vast majority of assessed communities were reported to host internally displaced persons, also predominantly women and children. All were found to have limited access to food, services and assistance.

In a region already suffering from acute food insecurity prior to the crisis, access to food has reportedly decreased by 75-100 percentage points—97% of assessed communities were relying on a diet of wild foods, seeds, and often water lilies, in order to cope. Access to healthcare was also found to have reduced significantly, with medical services only available in 16% of assessed communities at the time of assessment, most of these provided by NGOs. Ongoing insecurity has caused clinics to be evacuated in recent months, leaving the remaining population increasingly vulnerable to disease.

Findings are based on data collected through a network of 391 key informants from major displacement sites, who provide up-to-date information on the situation in their area of origin, either through recent visits or contact with friends and family remaining there. Using a methodology first developed by REACH to monitor the Syria crisis from neighbouring countries, this is the first of several state-level situation overviews for South Sudan, which will be produced in the coming months with the aim of informing key aid actors implementing programs in the region.

Read the complete `Unity State, South Sudan Situation Overview

Image: Displacement to major sites in Unity State