Guit County, Unity

General information

2016 population projection: 46,699

Major population centers: Guit, Narir towns (most of the population live in rural areas)

Major ethnic group: Nuer (Jikany clan); with minority of Fallath Arab nomads and Darfurians

Displacement risk:

Guit experienced significant internal displacement due to fighting between Government and Opposition forces. According to a March 2015 estimate by SSRRA officials, there were at least 70,000 IDPs in Guit County. There were 5,000 IDPs in Guit as of July 2016, according to OCHA.

* about this map

Economy & livelihoods

Residents engage livestock rearing (34 percent), agriculture (36 percent) and fishing (19 percent) for their livelihoods, according to an IOM assessment. The black cotton and silt soil is suitable for agriculture, and crops grown include sorghum, maize, groundnut and cowpeas. Vegetables (such as okra, pumpkin, tomatoes) are cultivated on a smaller scale. In addition to cattle, goats and sheep are also kept. Herds are moved towards the River Nile from February to April and return in May. The County’s two main rivers provide ample fishing resources year round, and as of a 2012 UNDP survey, some small scale commercial fishing was taking place. Wild foods such as laloub nuts, water lily and leau nuts are also accessible.

Poor road conditions in most payams means many residents have difficulty accessing markets, despite the county’s location next to the main road linking Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei and Lakes states. However, residents do have access to ports along the White Nile.

Guit also produces oil via the Mala field, which is estimated to have 44 million barrels of oil in reserves. The field has been in production since at least 2010, though crude quality was reportedly low. A 2013 study also indicated that unsafe production practices had contaminated water used by 180,000 residents and made it unfit to drink. By January 2014, all Unity oil fields had been shut down due to the conflict. Fighting in Guit also reportedly damaged the Mala oil field pipelines, which led to further water pollution. According to a report by the Human Security Baseline Assessment for Sudan and South Sudan (HSBA), oil production infrastructure in Unity overall was largely undamaged and looting was limited to easily replaceable items (e.g. copper wiring).

The ongoing conflict has seriously disrupted regular market dynamics and the agricultural season however, leading to up to “emergency” levels of food insecurity by 2015, according to the IPC. The majority of people within the county did not cultivate any crops at all in 2015 due to ongoing insecurity. In addition to the conflict, in 2014 the county reportedly experienced the worst floods in seven years, which destroyed crops and homes, and led to livestock deaths.

Prior to the latest national conflict, the main trade routes from Guit were Guit Bentiu Mayom Wau Juba; Guit Leer Port Adok Juba; and Guit Port Adok Malakal Renk. The onset of the conflict disrupted these traditional routes, according to a Food Security Cluster report in January 2015. Trade still existed between Guit and Bentiu (sales of fish, sugar and livestock to the PoC site and purchase of grains, vegetable oil and salt from the site). In addition, trade in grains and other major food items continued via the Guit Leer Port Adok Port Tharjar route.

IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016

The County is classified as “Emergency” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014 2015** report, the County had a deficit of 1,386 tons of cereal in 2015. In December 2015 the IPC warned there was “overwhelming evidence of a humanitarian emergency” in Guit County (as well as Mayendit, Koch and Leer Counties). Host communities and IDPs were relying on severe coping strategies, such as consuming water lilies, to survive. However, disaster appeared to have been averted by April 2016 as humanitarian access improved in early 2016. Conflict related insecurity was the main cause of food insecurity in Unity State.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners

Historical context

About the map *

This map follows the administrative county boundaries 2005-2015. Our aim is to identify key geographic, demographic and historical features of the area, rather than political/administrative issues. In doing so, SSHP expresses no view on the development of the 28 state policy

Geography & logistics


Guit, Kedad, Kuach, Kuerguini, Niemni, Nyathoar, Wathnyona

Geographical features

The County falls under the Nile Sobat Rivers livelihood zone classification. The geography is characterized by green vegetation (including papyrus, reeds and Napier grass), black cotton soils and swampy/wetland features. The heavy black cotton and silt soils are favorable for agriculture, but it also turns into thick mud during rains, greatly hampering mobility. The northern and eastern edges of Guit are swampy, low lying areas where people have historically gone to seek shelter in times of crisis. The River Bahr el Ghazal flows across the county’s north and the White Nile runs down the eastern side of Guit County and defines its border with Fangak County, Jonglei State.

Main roads

Guit County has only one primary road (Bentiu Leer), which runs on the vertical axis alongside its western border, connecting it to neighboring Rubkona and Koch counties. It is passable year round to all vehicles.

All season fixed-wing airstrips

No current airfields, as of a May 2013 Logistics Cluster Map. Disused airfields are located at Biil, Nimni, Kuach and Toich villages.


Information last updated: 26/08/16

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