Mid-Year Review of the Consolidated Appeal for South Sudan 2013
As South Sudan approaches the second anniversary of its independence, the problems facing the world's youngest country often appear insurmountable. But how are things now compared to one or two years ago? To what extent has the engagement of the international community, for example its generous funding for the largest humanitarian operation in Africa, helped? This review brings to light a different and largely better picture of the situation than might have been expected. While the scale and depth of need is still immense and requires sustained engagement, most issues that have an impact on the humanitarian situation are moving in the right direction.
While the situation is fragile, hostilities are killing and displacing fewer people, food insecurity has stabilized at least for the time-being, and the economy is weathering the shocks associated with the oil shutdown and resumption.
Security has improved with fewer people uprooted from their homes due to violence so far this year compared to the same period in 2012 when some 193,000 people were displaced. We anticipate that aid agencies will assist up to 125,000 people displaced by fighting throughout 2013. Most of the displaced are in parts of Jonglei where the escalation in hostilities has been as persistent as the difficulties aid agencies have experienced working there.
Our forecast for the number of refugees in South Sudan has decreased from 350,000 to 263,000. As the pace of new arrivals fleeing conflict in Sudan's Blue Nile and South Kordofan states slowed, the refugee operation has evolved to include both crisis response and care and maintenance. Aid organizations stabilized malnutrition and contained disease outbreaks and new camps are opening to take pressure off existing settlements. We are also more focused on supporting refugee resilience.
The plight of returnees, thousands of whom have been stranded or are living in desperate conditions, continues to be troubling. We now expect about 70,000 returnees to arrive from Sudan in 2013. While this number is lower than we had anticipated, donor support is needed so that together with the Government we can help returnees integrate, start new lives and help build a more prosperous country.
While the harvest was better than in the previous year, there are still 1 million people severely food-insecure. The work of the food security and livelihoods cluster where short- and medium-term needs are addressed is a good example of the link we are forging between humanitarian action and development. The prospects for necessary longer-term improvements are also looking up: the currency has been fairly stable and inflation has come down. The Economic Partners Forum held in April and the envisaged IMF programme have sowed the seeds for renewed engagement. The Government and donors are also embarking on a New Deal compact, based on commitments to reform and aid effectiveness.
Aid agencies have made great progress so far in 2013, being able to implement up to 90 per cent of their plans. For example, pre- positioning supplies before the rains started was largely successful and will enable communities to manage until the dry season begins. Improvements can of course be made: cross-cutting issues have not come to the fore enough in our aid operation. For example, awareness of HIV-AIDS in humanitarian settings or of disaster risk reduction is insufficient and requires more attention.
During this review of the Consolidated Appeal, which sets out the aid community's strategy to help address South Sudan's challenges, NGOs and UN agencies analyzed humanitarian needs and the extent to which we can meet them during the rest of 2013. This has led to a measured revision of our strategy and plans in each cluster, and a thorough reconsideration of financial requirements bearing in mind both need and what can actually get done. In some parts of the country, such as Pibor County, needs have increased and this drives up costs. However, given improvements elsewhere, we have been able to reduce overall financial requirements by nine per cent from $1.16 billion to $1.05 billion. Taking into account contributions to date, donors are now asked to provide $485 million so that we can continue to stand with civilians in need.