On 20 February 2017, the Government of South Sudan declared famine in some parts of the country, specifically Leer and Mayendit counties, which were designated as priority locations by the Humanitarian Coordinator. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) results indicate that over 100,000 people are currently being affected, with up to five million people at risk of famine in various locations throughout the year. Due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, organisations must scale up their emergency response fast and the Logistics Cluster, in close collaboration with OCHA, is leading efforts to ensure a well-coordinated response. The affected population is widely dispersed across all the counties with a large number fleeing to small islands in the South swamp region, indicating that helicopters will be the main transport modality of humanitarian relief items. Airlifts will be coordinated from the Rumbek dispatch hub for greater efficiencies with dedicated staff to oversee these operations. Since the beginning of 2017 so far, 77 mt has been transported to Dablual, Koch, Leer, Loth, Mayendit, Mer, Padeah, Rubkuay and Thornyor. UNHAS is currently reviewing the availability of extra assets located regionally should there be a need for a scale up of the air fleet as a preparedness measure (link).
In the coming months, a significant scale up of activities is expected and operational information sharing will play an important role in the famine response. The Logistics Cluster will support the humanitarian community by coordinating road convoys to the dispatch hub and will also continue to monitor the response, tackling logistics gaps to ensure the timely delivery of humanitarian supplies.