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South Sudan: Humanitarian Access Review : January - June 2018

The South Sudan Humanitarian Access Review has been produced to provide a more comprehensive analysis of access incidents reported during the first half of the year (January to June 2018). Violence against personnel and assets has been featured as the most commonly reported, and often most severe, access constraint faced by partners in the field. Interference in humanitarian operations, which includes operational interference, restrictions of movement, and bureaucratic administrative impediments, has also been further explored in an effort to demonstrate the persistently challenging operating environment in which humanitarians work to support people in need. A measure of incident severity has been introduced to better represent the scope and scale of a reported incident, as compared to a focus solely on the number of incidents reported. Incidents are ranked as minor, moderate or significant, according to the effect on humanitarian staff, assets or operations. Definitions of access constraints and incident severity are also provided.


During the first half of the year, 390 access incidents were reported, which affected personnel and operations across the country¹. Of these, 51 per cent involved violence, including 122 incidents against personnel and 78 against organizational assets. Operational interference, restrictions of movement and bureaucratic administrative impediments accounted for 38 per cent of all incidents, demonstrating the persistently challenging operating environment in which humanitarians work to support people in need. The majority of incidents occurred in Unity (25 per cent) and Central Equatoria (21 per cent) and largely involved violence against personnel and assets, and operational interference.


Ten staff were killed in separate incidents in Unity and Central Equatoria, resulting in at least 107 aid workers killed since the start of the crisis. A concerning new trend involves the increase in arbitrary detentions of staff, including three incidents where 24 staff were held for prolonged periods by the SPLA-iO. Growing insecurity in the Equatorias has significantly reduced humanitarian space and safe access for partners outside of Yei and Yambio, to Kajo Keji and Mukaya, and in Mundri. Government security forces continuously restricted the movement of humanitarians  outside of Wau, which affected access to an estimated 40,000 people. The deterioration of the security situation in central Unity forced widespread relocations of staff and suspension of operations from April to June. An unsuccessful call for a humanitarian pause meant that nearly 100,000 people in need went without humanitarian assistance in Leer, Mayendit and Koch, areas with high vulnerability, which has been compounded by recurring stressors over recent years. Such hostilities resulted in the relocation of at least 100 staff from Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei, and suspension of operations in many cases due to insecurity. Twenty-two looting incidents involved the theft of program supplies, undermining services and delivery in the food security and livelihoods, health, nutrition and WASH sectors. Worsening interference in operations across Greater Upper Nile has greatly impacted on access and response to people in need, and compromised principled humanitarian action.

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