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South Sudan: Humanitarian Access Review : January - December 2018


In 2018, a total of 760 humanitarian access incidents were reported. Over half (52 per cent) involved violence against humanitarian personnel and assets. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of all incidents occurred in Unity (23 per cent), Central Equatoria (20 per cent), Jonglei (18 per cent) and Upper Nile (13 per cent). Forty-three per cent of the incidents were attributed to State security and civilian authorities, while criminals or unknown perpetrators were responsible for a further 39 per cent. International NGOs experienced nearly half (48 per cent) of all incidents.


Fifteen aid workers were killed while delivering humanitarian assistance, resulting in a total of at least 112 aid workers killed since the start of the conflict. At least 117 staff were detained for prolonged periods. Over 575 staff were relocated due to insecurity – the most significant was the relocation of almost 400 aid workers from Maban following extreme violence and targeting of humanitarian facilities, which effectively suspended many operations for months. Armed clashes in Central Unity prevented access to highly food insecure counties and forced widespread suspension of operations from April to June, affecting services to some 100,000 people. The significant deterioration in road security in Central and Western Equatoria substantially reduced access outside of Yei and Yambio towns, requiring increased use of air assets and force protection. Although armed groups committed to ensuring full humanitarian access, road insecurity inhibited Ebola preparedness efforts by delaying screening, monitoring and logistics support. Bureaucratic and operational interference continued unabated in both state and non-state controlled areas, causing excessive delays and costs to principled humanitarian operations. State security forces persistently denied access to the greater Baggari area until August, which cut off up to 28,000 people from humanitarian support. Extended stand-offs in the Bentiu and Malakal Protection of Civilians sites endured over employment grievances, disrupting the delivery of critical health and nutrition services to some 140,000 people. Despite these challenges, humanitarians were able to reach the majority of counties across the country, by air where necessary. Since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, some positive access gains were noted in late 2018 and into 2019 in areas such as Baggari, Nagero, Tambura and Tonga. People’s access to assistance will be contingent upon State and non-State forces and authorities’ commitment and support to provide safe and unhindered humanitarian access and to end all bureaucratic and operational blockages.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
31 Dec 2018
Document type: 
South Sudan
Humanitarian Access