• Crisis Severity ?
    1.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    1.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0.9
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
     
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 56,000 People displaced [?]
  • 12,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

10/05/2019

Since April 2018, a minimum of 52,000 Nicaraguans fled violence and persecution and sought refuge in Costa Rica. Numbers remain ambiguous as many enter Costa Rica via informal routes to avoid police at border crossings. Despite migration policies that provide the rights to work and to education while applications are processed, the growing number of asylum seekers in Costa Rica has put its system under strain and the implementation of these policies remain challenging. Especially in northern Costa Rican communities near the border with Nicaragua, few resources are available to shelter and provide food to new asylum seekers. ?

According to UNHCR, only 23,000 Nicaraguans have begun the process of applying for refugee status in the country in late 2018 and beginning of 2019. Detailed information is lacking, but at least 50% of the registered Nicaraguans have been identified as requiring special protection and assistance, including legal protection concerns as well as urgent health support. Many Nicaraguans stay with relatives in San José. The majority lives in La Carpio, an overpopulated shantytown of San José, where access to drinking water is scarce and housing arrangements and WASH facilities, including the sewage system, are inadequate.? Priority needs overall evolve around the lack of effective access documentation, health services, education, and work. Small recurring events of xenophobia by the host community are reported. ?

INFORM measures Costa Rica’s risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster for 2019 to be low at 2.9/10; hazard and exposure at 3.8/10 but lack of coping capacity only at 2.7/10. ?

Latest Developments

07/06/2019

No recent significant humanitarian developments. The situation is being monitored by our analysis team.

Key Priorities

29/05/2019

Protection: Many asylum seekers are waiting a long time for their documentation, including work permits, to be processed. Unregistered refugees in Costa Rica face unsafe work opportunities and exploitation in order to provide for their basic needs.

Education: Information is scarce. Some Nicaraguan refugee children are able to access local schools in San José but putting the schools’ capacity under urgent stress. The number of Nicaraguan children out of school is unknown but expected to be very high.

Information Gaps and Needs

29/05/2019
  • Numbers of Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers vary between different reports. Their whereabouts remain mostly unknown. Segregated data by age, gender and disability is not available. 
  • Information about sectoral needs and the severity is lacking.
  • The impact of the refugee influx on the host community is unknown.