Nearly 4.8 million of the most vulnerable South Sudanese need support to access safe water and basic sanitation facilities. It is estimated that only 41% of the population have access to safe water. As the conflict spread to new areas in 2016, boreholes were damaged or made dysfunctional due to lack of repairs. For the third year in a row, a cholera epidemic was declared in 2016/2017. Access to safe water in urban areas has diminished because of rapidly rising prices due to inflation. Some 302,800 refugees will also need WASH services in the northern parts of the country. There are also people in urban areas who are vulnerable to outbreaks due to lack of access to safe water, including due to rising prices.
Flood plain areas along the River Nile and Sobat River remain at high risk of waterborne and water-related diseases. Lack of access to safe water and sanitation pose specific protection risks for women. The conflict in South Sudan has compounded the WASH needs of an already vulnerable population. It is estimated that only 7% of the population have access to improved sanitation, while 74% of the population practices open defecation (50% in urban areas and 79% in rural areas). The main drivers of vulnerabilities related to WASH are closely linked to the conflict and cultures. In conflict-affected areas existing WASH services outside PoCs sites are inadequate to address the needs of IDPs and host communities and have been further overstretched by new arrivals. WASH infrastructure has been deliberately targeted by armed actors during the conflict