Seasonality in South Sudan

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Helpdesk Query:
  1. Document the characteristics of seasonal spikes in South Sudan: what sector/ areas of needs is concerned (food insecurity, acute malnutrition, diseases, anything else), what is the extent of seasonal spikes (how do prevalence/ incidence/ caseloads change), what are the triggers? What is the extent of a spike in a ‘normal year’ and the extent of a spike in abnormal circumstances?
  1. Investigate the extent to which humanitarian and development interventions in the country plan seasonally (dry season planning, surge plans in health, nutrition, food security or social protection, etc)
Summary:

Acute malnutrition tends to be highest during the lean season April/May – August. The lean season occurs at the same time as the rainy season, when the incidence of malaria and diarrhoea increases. This creates a double burden of vulnerability. The rainy season also brings logistical constraints to the implementation of nutrition activities, hampering communication and the transport of nutrition supplies.

Data vary on the estimate of the seasonal effect on nutrition. Pre- and post-harvest data were available for 5 counties. The decrease in GAM post-harvest ranged from 3% to 62%

The peak of malnutrition, according to Action Against Hunger (ACF) seasonal admission trends, occurs every year between April and June. Lower attendance is noted at the most critical period of the hunger gap. Two issues may explain this: 1) agricultural labour may take priority over attending a nutrition programme; 2) Flooding may restrict access for those attending ACF nutrition centres and for those delivering outreach activities.

Seasonal analysis of conflict incidents shows that more than 63 percent of the conflicts in 2012 occurred between January and May, coinciding with the dry period when households experience depleted food stocks and have to rely on the market to meet their food needs. It is also when competition for water and pasture is highest, which act as a trigger for unresolved inter-communal conflicts. However the incidences are lowest during the rainy season when movements are constrained due to poor road networks).

There appears to be a paucity of evidence on development programmes’ seasonality planning, as opposed to humanitarian programmes’ seasonality planning.

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