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Aweil Community elated by the Appointment of Ruai Deng as Governor

By Kawac Deng

The Aweil Community in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State on Sunday expressed their support for the recent Presidential order appointing 28 state Governors.  The community hailed the president for appointing Ronald Ruai Deng as the Aweil State Governor. The Aweil Community   Spokesman, Aru Madouk told The Nation Mirror   that they are completely behind the presidential decree. “The Aweil Community congratulates General, Salva Kiir Mayardit for appointing 28 state Governors. This is what we were waiting for, for long time,’’ Madouk said.   He pledged the community’s cooperation with the newly appointed Governor so that Aweil State develops.



He called upon the Governor to make extending basic services in terms of education, health, clean drinking water in the state as his number one priorities. 

“We warmly congratulate the newly appointed Governor of Aweil State. We are ready to work and help him to run his Government without difficulties. We want him to consider rights of the citizens by providing health care services, quality education and many more services that the citizens are looking from the Government,” Maduot said. Ruai was a former Minister of Trade and Investment in the Government of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. Some   politicians in the state who preferred to speak anonymously for fear of repercussion have criticized Ruai’s appointment saying that he was appointed because he enjoys a close relationship with Gen. Paul Malong Awan the Chief of general staff of the national army the SPLA.  Malong who was once a governor of the now defunct Northern Bahr el Ghazal before he was appointed by President Kiir as the Chief of Staff is idolized as the King of Aweil. It is generally believed that no one can be Governor in the now three states of Aweil Lol and Aweil East without the backing of the powerful Malong. It should be recalled that Kuel Aguer Kuel who replaced Malong as the Governor of the former Northern Bahr el Ghazal was impeached by the state parliament after he fell out with his former comrade Paul Malong.  Kuel dismissed all the grounds parliament based on to impeach him. In turn he accused Malong of engineering the impeachment. President Kiir several months later appointed as Governor General Akot Akot the former Northern Bahr el Ghazal police commissioner who was rumored to also being in good books with the SPLA Chief of General Staff.   However in the latest appointments Akot was not named as one of the new governors to superintend over any of the three created states from Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

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USAID announces $173 Million for food assistance

By Aurelious Simon Chopee

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Tuesday that it was providing an additional $173 million in lifesaving emergency food assistance in South Sudan for people suffering from conflict induced hunger.

In a press release, the donation is expected to be used by World Food Program to stock 85, 000 tons of emergency food assistance that would serve some 2.4 million people in the country facing life-threatening hunger and refugees residing in the country. The funds would also procure specialized nutrition products designed to treat acute malnutrition according to the statement.

After two years of conflict, conditions for the South Sudanese continue to deteriorate and the numbers in need of lifesaving food aid has grown by 60 percent since last year.

Recently, China handed over US$ 5 million worth of foodstuff to the WFP, including oil, yellow split peas, salt and sorghum to assist conflict affected people in Upper Nile region, one of the hardest hit regions in the two years conflict.

“Due to greater challenges of accessibility to some disputed areas, WFP is the most capable supporting hand of humanitarian operation in South Sudan. We highly appreciate the hard work and great achievements of the WFP family in helping the local people and we are strongly confident that WFP will deliver the Chinese donation to the people in need in timely and effective manner” Qiang had said.

WFP South Sudan Country Representative Joyce Luma on her part had stated that the organization experiences a shortfall of $237 million for the next six months to be able to provide food assistance to the needy in the country.  

The USAID announcement on Tuesday came after recent visit of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, Bob Leavitt to the country. After return, he had noted, “Two years of conflict has had a brutal impact on the people of South Sudan. Nearly 20 percent of the population faces life-threatening hunger this month”

The United States as a single largest provider of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan has by now altogether provided nearly $1.5 billion since the start of the crisis, to about 1.3 million reached with food, clean water, health care, shelter and other essential support.

“The entire aid package, including more than 344,000 tons of U.S. food, with contributions from other donors has helped avert famine for two consecutive years,” USAID said. “USAID remains committed to saving the lives and supporting the aspirations of the South Sudanese people,” said Deputy Assistant Administrator, Leavitt. “The peace agreement signed in August provides the best chance for a return to peace and development. Its implementation is urgently needed. We urged the South Sudan’s leaders to allow aid to reach the most vulnerable people and to implement all elements of the peace agreement without delay,” he added.

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UN urges parties to implement peace to allow 1.5 million children return home

By Achol Achien Kiir

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have called for all parties to uphold their commitments to the Peace Agreement to allow almost 1.5 million South Sudanese children to return home and receive education and child soldiers to be released and reintegrated. “Respect for the Peace Agreement by all parties will enable children to reignite prospects and hopes for a dignified future.” said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, UNICEF’s Regional Director in Eastern and Southern Africa.

 The two UN agencies yesterday in a press release warned that the children of South Sudan remain some of the most vulnerable in the world.

“Around two thirds of those who fled their homes and communities in South Sudan are children,” Leila added. The UN says that over the past two years, 1.65 million people have become internally displaced, and more than 650,000 have sought international protection as refugees in neighboring Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda.

Agencies allege that without more global attention and support, an entire generation of children from the world’s newest nation could be lost.

 UNHCR, UNICEF and 14 child protection partners have together established effective systems to support children, including training staff in child protection procedures in 85 per cent of registration points to ensure adequate identification of the most vulnerable children.  It added that 105 child-friendly spaces in refugee locations scaled up health care in refugee camps for malnourished children, providing medical and psycho-social support to child survivors of gender-based violence, vaccinating children against measles and polio, and ensuring children continue to receive some level of education have also been established. Meanwhile, more than 459,000 people have been reached with life-saving supplies in remote locations and more than 380,000 children were able to go back to school,” said agencies. “Two years since the current crisis erupted, South Sudanese represent the largest refugee population in the region with nearly three quarters of a million people forced into neighboring countries,” said Ann Encontre, UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator for the South Sudan Emergency.

 “With most of those displaced being children, South Sudan cannot afford to have a generation of children lost, as in them lies the future and hope of the young nation,” Ann added. Children’s needs for vital resources such as medicines, food, and shelter are said to be needed. UN reported that at least half a million children have had their education disrupted.

The enrolment rate for refugee children remains is said to be at a critically low as 56% in refugee locations. UNICEF and UNHCR are urgently calling on the global community for funds to provide shelter, education, health care, clean water, and other basic necessities for survival, as well as for the reintegration of children formerly in armed groups.

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SPLM official castigates opportunistic Politicians

By Dach Agoth Mayen

Politicians in South Sudan are of three types; nationalists, gossipers and those who are just struggling to feed their stomachs, Antipas Nyok has said. Speaking at the welcoming ceremony of the newly admitted students at the University of Juba organized by the SPLM-SL Antipas Nyok Kuch the secretary for political affairs and mobilization described the problems in the SPLM as a result of such category of politicians.

“The party has opened itself ; like when a person opens some parts of the mosquito net the mosquito, and other insects inter this is what exactly happened in the SPLM’’ Nyok  said.  He added that the SPLM must work very hard to see that it only retains politicians who have the country at heart. Nyok advised the students to embrace the spirit of togetherness in order to foster peace. He said that the scientific definition of the university was derived from Italian word called universitat which was the religious college and the highest institution of learning by that time. He said that the university students should behave as universal persons and shun all sectional organizations that exist in the university that defeat the word university.  “When you are in the university you are an intellectual and an intellectual means that you are able to separate sense from nonsense,” he said.  “We want you to be an intellectual, avoid tribalism our common tribe is South Sudan’’ he stressed. He said that the University of Juba produced cadres who participated in the liberation struggle of the country and that the University of Juba is a center of production of cadres that can serve the nation. He said that students are trained to be producers but not consumers. Nyok congratulated the newly students for making it to the university of Juba. Nyok promised the students that the national secretariat of the SPLM will assign regular people to monitor the situation of the students at the campus and work out the challenges that were raised by the students.

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Duk Community plans to rehabilitate Roads in high gear

By Daniel Majack Kuany

 

Citizens of Duk County of Jonglei State, through an initiative based on ideas of  the county Commissioner, Michael Malual Wuor,  have agreed to organize a fundraising campaign in order to rehabilitate roads that will connect all the Payams in the county.

Commissioner Wuor, who was appointed in June this year by the state Governor, said since his appointment he has been to all the villages within the county where he discovered that   all areas in the county were  severely affected by  the Mid December 2013 crisis with poor roads infrastructure and  massive displacement of people.

He said the idea of starting the initiative began after he returned to his county from  Bor, the capital town of the state where he  briefed the state authorities on lack of roads and other necessities’ for human life in the county, adding that his administration considers rehabilitation of roads as a priority at the moment. It is worth noting that the community including friends of the citizens of Duk County residing in Bor town on 21st of November, 2015   fundraised a sum 120,000 South Sudanese Pound in support of the initiative of roads rehabilitation.  

Speaking to The Nation Mirror, Malual Wuor, who is currently in Juba on a mission to follow up the issues related to the project, called for a meeting with Duk Community members in Juba held at Kush Resort Hotel to brief them on what the people in the state have agreed upon to do to ensure the success of the project.

The Commissioner told the gathering that the citizens, in a meeting in the county had resolved to adopt rehabilitation of roads in the area as top priority and stressed that the people should conduct fundraising events to raise more money. “If we had roads, it would be easy for us to enforce law and order in any corner of the county,”Wuor said, adding that “Roads are essential because they promote business within our county by boosting movement of people which can contribute to mitigation of insecurity as well as controlling other criminal acts,” Commissioner Malual Wour believes that if they had roads it would be very easy for people in the county to transport sick patients to other parts of the county that has a medical facilities.  

He emphasized that the road rehabilitation should start from the junction of Panyangoro passing through Lith Payam, then goes to Duk Payuel and from there to Duk-Padiet. The rehabilitated road would connect all the Payams in the county with each other.

According to the Commissioner the work would start from Ayueldit to Duk Padiet to Dongsak,to Mareng then from  Mareng to Ageer Payam- Ageer Payam to Payuel Payam. He said the community is also inviting all citizens of Duk in Juba as well as friends and colleagues of Duk to come in and participate, each according to his or her capacity, in contributing to the effort of making the project a success. He pointed out that he had also shared the idea of the project with the sons and daughters of Duk area leaving in the Diaspora particularly through Video conferences; they agreed to hold their meeting on 19th of this month, Wuor said.

Wuor asserted that the idea will be a wakeup call to all the people of the other two counties of Twic-East and Bor County to do the same by rehabilitating their roads starting from their boarders extending it into the Payams.

Jonglie State is one of the 10 states in the country with poor roads infrastructure and also one of the states severely affected by the 2013 conflict. It is also known for cattle raiding activities that have created insecurity which resulted into the state of poor roads.

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High levels of hunger in Eastern Equatoria

Chuty Anyar Michael

People of greater Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria State are in dire need of food assistance, Martin Lopir Lotubai, Commissioner of Kapoeta South County has said. The Commissioner told The Nation Mirror that half of the population of Kapoeta South County is experiencing escalating starvation more than before worsened by the dry season and escalating commodity prices. The starvation resulted from poor crop yield caused by poor rains in the area, according to Lopir. He said the dry spells this year resulted from inadequate rainfall. 

 “At this critical time of this month as the prices of the goods has skyrocketed for the people who may have cash to sustain their lives” he stated. The Commissioner said that starvation might  engulf more people in the greater Kapoeta counties as the dry season intensify on the nomadic pastoralists who move from place to place  in search of pastures and water for their livestock. “These people are in dire need of support as the summer has just begun, it will be worse; they are cattle keepers, they keep migrating to areas where there is water, leaving kids and  elderly people behind hence escalating  the situation” he stressed. Efforts to reach the state officials for comments were futile by press time as known numbers of the state minister of information Mark Akio were unreachable. But in the past, authorities in Eastern Equatoria downplayed the seriousness of food insecurity in the area especially when the Budi Commissioner reported unprecedented levels of hunger in the area. Last week, the United Nations released a report on humanitarian situation in South Sudan putting the figures for food insecure in the country at 7.5 million, more than half the population of the country. However, the government denied such levels of food insecurity blaming the UN body of exaggerating the figures. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation franked by his cabinet colleagues, Awut Deng Achuil, Beda Machar and Riak Gai Kok termed the report as unfounded and damaging to the country’s image abroad, putting the number of food insecure citizens at 3.9 million. Dr. Marial said the UN should have shared the information with the country before publishing it. This escalation of hunger in Eastern Equatoria could offer some insights into the level of food insecurity in the country. For starters, if there is such high levels of hunger in Eastern Equatoria State that was comparatively affected by the ongoing conflict, then the situation is probably worse in conflict ravaged states where people are constantly on the move to escape gruesome atrocities committed against them by fighting groups, hence almost abandoning agriculture. 

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Pressure group calls for a comprehensive land policy

By Chuty Anyar Michael

The South Sudan Land Alliance, a civil society organization advocating for proper utilization and right of ownership of land on Tuesday organized a workshop at James Hotel, to solicit public views on the Land Policy.

The workshop was attended by a number of government officials and the private sector groups.

The Coordinator of the Alliance Butrus Apollo said his group wants to ensure that land ownership in the country is acquired using rightful procedures and standards.

 He stated that the process of acquiring land should not involve intimidation that might paralyses the whole system and loss of lives.

“We witness the cases of land being sold to more than five people which can cost lives as people fight over land which is not even demarcated” Apollo said. 

“We need to understand the role of the ministry of Land and Physical Infrastructure in both Central and State Governments so that both cooperate” he added.

The land advocate demand that the Land Policy Act expected to be passed by next year, should reconsider customary laws which deny land ownership to women in some communities.

 He explained that all citizens need to participate in contributing ideas to the land policy so that the right to own land is known to every citizen.

“This means that the laws of land ownership is provided to everybody as the entire citizen have right to own land” Apollo said. ’

In his remarks, the programs coordinator,  Wodcan Savior commented that, the target  of the workshop was to interact with different stakeholders on the views collected by civil society pressure groups on the land policy bill currently tabled in parliament.

“We are alerting the citizens that as we are waiting for the laws of land ownership to be amended. We also need the views on the land policy which has always brought conflict between people in areas particularly in Juba County of Central Equatoria” Savior said.

He added that very many cases of  land ownership in which land is being claimed by more than five people are being registered in areas which are not properly demarcated.

Michael Odhiambo, an official from the Ministry of Land and Housing stressed that it was very important for the bill to be passed in order to help people whose land ownership rights have been violated. He was speaking in reference to the information that a plot of land could sometimes be sold to more than five people.

He said that despite the existence of the land act since 2009, it has not been implemented to determine land allocation between Central government and State government.

“We need the land act to be implemented,” said Odhiambo, “if we wait for the legislature to amend it, it will take another more time to work” He stressed that the doubling of names in land registration need to be avoided to avert conflicts over land.

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Bishop decry illegal church land occupation

By Modi Gilbert

The Bishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSS&S), Yei dioces, says that the church developmental projects have come to standstill due to illegal land occupation by the public. Bishop Hillary Luate Adeba puts the blame on the government authorities in Yei of not responding to their concerns about the illegal acquits ion of church lands.

He said that the church was stopped from constructing a new primary school in one of the diocesan parishes as the land they were hoping of using had illegal occupants.

Accroding toThe bishop, the church also had plans of constructing new domitories for the male student teachers learning in the Yei Teacher Training College (YTTC) but ended without concrete resolution since there is no free space to put that structure   

 “We were stranded in the board; we ended up without any decision, because where do we get the authority to move these people” Luate said.

Among the people settling on the church land, the bishop said, are refugees.

He added that the land occupants have an incurable intimindation to the church; when ever aproached to vacate the church land, “They say if you do this we will kill,”    

The prelate appeals to the state government to intervene as the situation is running out of hand. However the deputy Mayor of Yei Municipality, Silvano Ali Sanguson said that the local authorities in Yei Municiality are trying there best to make sure that the church land in the Municipality is left free of settlement to facilitate the church’s planned activities. He added that the slow process is due to the planning of where to relocate the people currently on the church land.

“To move these people out so that you have continuous church projects; is not possible”said Ali

He refuted the claims by the bishop that the govemrnt is not cooparative with the church in solving the land disputes between the church and the community, adding that the people settling in the church land are not refugees but residents.

“The bishop said that no body listen to him about the issue of the land, that is not true, because I’am the chairman of the land dispute between the community and the church” he said, adding “people the bishop calls refugees, are not refugees, they are the sons and daughtors of the people who gave the land to the church. We cannot take them out just like that without giving them another land.”

He added that his government in collaboration with the survey depatrment has planned to meet the church in order to join hands to resolv the arising land problems between the church and the society in Yei municipality.

“I have writen a letter to the survey department so that they come and give land lease to the church” he said “I am sorry that this things take time but eventually they can be solved” Ali said. He added that the government will walk around the clock to ensure that conflicts can come to an end in the area.

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Our enemies are Corruption, tribalism-Kordit

By Dach Agoth Mayen

SPLM Youth league Chairperson Akol Paul Kordit has said that the youth should reconcile with each other if peace is to come back to the country. Akol said this during a consultative meeting organized by the SPLM students’ League in universities.


akol‘’I am happy with this consultative meeting meant to bring our leagues together. We have to work together as one team and reconcile our communities’’Akol said.  He said that his definition of an enemy to South Sudan is tribalism, regionalism and corruption that have caused a lot of sickness to the country. “The SPLM is in trouble and the country is sick, you, I and those who are not here should find ways of treating it,” Akol said. He added that the party cadres must work to correct the mistakes of the party. Akol revealed that at the age of 60 he will leave politics adding that Africa’s problem stems from leaders who want to over stay in power. He added that the suffering of the people now is due to disagreements in the SPLM. ‘‘Those women, children and other innocent people who have died in this war were victims of basic documents of the SPLM,” He added that the internal war needs to be ended and everyone should push for peace. On the Arusha deal, Akol said the party is committed to the reunification of its rank and file as it is yearning for peace in the country. He advised students to commit themselves to their education so that they benefit the whole country. Meanwhile Simon Machuar on behalf of the SPLM chairperson enumerated the challenges the leagues are facing and called on his colleagues to cooperate and work together to overcome them The meeting drew participants from all Universities including; University of   Juba, Upper Nile University, University of Bhar el Gazal, University Rumbek, Dr. John Garang Memorial University and other Universities abroad among others. The aim of the meeting was to launch peace campaign at the Universities. The recent signed compromise peace agreement talks of healing and reconciliation process which the SPLM youth and SPLM- Student and Youth Leagues are now trying to push for. 

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United Nations Report Unfounded - Government

By Candiga Jacky

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. BarnabaMarial Benjamin has termed the UN Humanitarian Report released recently in New York as unfounded and damaging. 

Dr Barnaba in a joint press conference with the ministers of Agriculture, Beda Machar, Humanitarian Affairs, Awut Deng Achuil and Health, Dr. RiekGaiKok, at Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs Hall, said, all reports pertaining South Sudan as member of the UN should have been shared before coming up with “unfounded reports, which is damaging the image of the country to the outside world”. 


governments-SpokespersonInformation-Minister-Dr-Barnaba-Marial

The UN report announced in New York that 7.5 million people in South Sudan are food insecure. 

The Ministers who attended the press briefing angrily refuted the claim saying latest report by the integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which is Government led process involving all partners in the country estimated that 3.9 million people (3.1 million crisis and 800,000 in emergency) is classified as severely food and nutrition insecure.

Marial said the humanitarian situation in the country should have been prepared in collaboration with the government as an independent country that must be given respect.

“The figure reported by the UN is not that one which was studied by the IPC and is not correct,” he said.

“Its release is inappropriate with the knowledge of the government” he said. 

Adding “What is happening in the country is temporary and can be resolve soon”, he stressed, adding that peace has already been achieved and all things will come to pass.

 

Beda Machar on his hand said what the UN need to do is provide agricultural tools, vaccination kit for animals, calling upon partners to give accurate report to develop the country “not reporting things based on rumors and lies”

“I am not saying that people in this country are food secure,” he added, but that the reports must be on a scientific proving because indeed people in other parts of the country are suffering from hunger”

He said the government is working hard to import food from the neighboring countries. “As I am talking now metric tons of supply have arrived in the country and have been distributed to the affected areas” he stressed. He questioned the where the UN got their report from.

“Any report in the country is first adopted in the council of ministers so that it can be made public,” Dr. Riek questioned the report.

Awut Deng on her part attributed food insecurity in the country to the ongoing conflict in the country as well as flooding that had resulted into the market disruption and high prices of good. She struck a hopeful not that the situation will improve as the harvest season progresses.

The South Sudan population census according to 2008 report estimate the number of the people in the country to be 8.2 million of which the UN statement indicates that 7.5 million which is 94% of the population of this country, Awut disputed that the report that the three states currently affected by the conflict does not reach 3 million.

However, Hon. Awut lauded the humanitarian partners for strong commitment and support to the people of South Sudan during difficult time. The government of the Southern Sudan refuted the census results saying Khartoum tempered with data, estimating South Sudan population to be 15 millions.

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About A Million People Need Humanitarian Support - UN

By Daniel Majack Kuany

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC] a United NationsAgency has estimated that at least 3.9 million people are in food crisis while over 800,000 need humanitarian emergency assistance. The IPC report classified 34 percent of the total country’s population as severely food and nutrition insecure and unable to meet their food needs this year.


south sudan_desperate_scenes

It noted that the food security situation in Unity State; about 30,000 people particularly in [Leer, Guit, Koch and Mayendit counties] are extremely concerning as there is a likelihood of a famine occurring within the next months if urgent humanitarian access is not provided. “Limited but reliable evidence from recent assessment shows displaced households facing huge consumption gaps, with some households facing catastrophic food security conditions reducing consumption to as little as one meal per day consisting of only fish and water lilies,” IPC report said. IPC also stresses that data from Bentiu protection of civilian site [POC] camp shows Global Acute malnutrition [GAM] prevalence above the catastrophic thresholds [GAM 30percent] indicating the situation in these thresholds is likely to be worse. IPC explains that multiple shock such as lose of livestock through looting, crop failure and multiple displacements have left these people with no choice but rely on wild food or humanitarian assistance. Adding, therefore humanitarian action is urgently needed to prevent escalating malnutrition and death. In addition to that, The IPC technical working Group urgently appealed to the government and armed opposition to provide good atmosphere that will allow unrestricted access to all the worst affected areas to conduct rapid verification assessment. However, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Hon. Awut Deng Achuil, flanked by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Marial Benjamin, Agriculture Minister, Hon. Beda Machar, and Health Minister, Hon. Gai Kook rejected the report terming it as a deliberate attempt to misinform the world negatively about South Sudan.

The IPC report explains that, for the first time in the IPC history of South Sudan large deterioration can be seen in the greater Equatoria region due to a combination of factors such as Market disruption, economic downturn, insecurity and localized crop failures. Adding that preliminary data indicates average to below-average production of the first harvest due to poor rainfall distribution.  However the situation is likely to improve with the expectation of normal to above-normal rainfall for the second season, which will likely translate to better crop yields. The report reads that, although the analysis shows the impact of humanitarian assistance in mitigating food insecurity for at least five counties where humanitarian assistance needs remain high in states affected by the conflict where it has been inadequate due to lack of access. The report also noted that, from October to December 2015, the nutrition situation is likely to remain in Emergency situation for conflict-affected and perennially high prevalence states, and serious in Lakes and Western Bahr-el Ghazal States and among Juba urban-poor households. IPC reports said that, Although the August and September period typically marks the start of green harvests and reflect an improving situation  from the peak-lean season, the long-term effects of the conflict coupled with high food prices, erratic rainfall patterns, depleted livelihood options and limited humanitarian access continue to put pressure on households’ food security affecting not only the Greater Upper Nile states, but also extending to traditionally stable states like Northern  Bahr-el –Ghazal, Lakes state, Warrap and the greater Equatoria States.

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