Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)2.10 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.2.90 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.1.50 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.2.60 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.2.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
El Salvador: Drought
High levels of violence, drug trafficking and other criminal activities (assassinations, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, rapes, kidnappings.) in combination with food insecurity have displaced many inside and across El Salvador’s borders. ?
In October 2018, between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants left Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to form two large caravans and multiple smaller groups travelling by foot towards the United States border. Another smaller caravan headed north between 14 and 30 January 2019. Migrants continue to migrate through Mexico to its shared border with the US, facing danger and risk throughout their journey. Migrants are on the move to escape violence and persecution, improve their economic situation, or reunite with their families. ?
El Salvador is part of Central America’s ‘Dry Corridor’, and experiences irregular rainfall and prolonged periods of drought, leading to major crop losses and food insecurity. An estimated 2.2 million people live in poverty and climate vulnerability, and high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition are observed as a result. ?
Latin America and the Caribbean have become the global epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Measures taken to contain virus spread in the region are having negative impacts on the population. The regional economy is forecast to have its biggest contraction ever, particularly affecting those who work in the informal sector. As a result, the World Food Programme estimates that food insecurity across the region in 2020 will likely increase from the current 3.4 million to 13.7 million. In Haiti, the number of people in severe food insecurity is projected to rise from 700,000 to 1.6 million. In the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras), the number of people affected by severe food insecurity is projected to increase from 1.6 million up to 3 million. The number of vulnerable Venezuelan migrants and refugees experiencing severe food insecurity in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru is expected to increase from 540,000 to more than 1 million. ?
ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.
Food Security and livelihoods: The arrival of an El Niño episode in the beginning of 2019 lead to below average rains which improved later in the year. Food production and availability for impoverished rural communities relying on agricultural livelihoods was nonetheless constrained by the early below average rains. ?
Protection: High levels of gang-violence and other criminal activities drive displacement in the Northern Triangle, where homicide rates are among the highest in the world.?
IMPACT OF COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis is having a severe impact on food security, particularly in Central America. Basic grains had maintained low and stable prices thanks to the recent harvest season, but the COVID-19 emergency has led to massive purchases and higher prices. Remittances from abroad declined over January-February 2020, with purchasing power deteriorating as a result. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that the number of people experiencing severe food insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean could quadruple from the current 3,4 million to 13,7 million in 2020.?
It is estimated that in the Dry Corridor around 4,4 million people acutely food-insecure are at greater risk.?
In El Salvador around 432,000 people are food insecure and 50,000 may suffer severe food insecurity due to direct and indirect effects of COVID-19. A survey by the Honduran government revealed that over 90% of households surveyed do not have reserves to last more than a month; around 3.2 million people need food support. In Guatemala, families rapidly depleted income received during harvest season, leaving minimal cash available for food purchases.?
Asylum-Cooperation Agreement with the US (RISK DECEMBER 2019)
In July 2019, the United States (US) entered into three separate “Asylum-Cooperative Agreements” with Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The three countries have ratified the agreements but so far only Guatemala has received asylum seekers turned away by the US. According to the agreement, any asylum seeker who passes through Guatemala will be ineligible for asylum in the US unless they first applied for protection in Guatemala. Since November, when the policy was implemented, around 400 asylum seekers have been sent to Guatemala. Although Guatemala has one of the region’s largest economies it is one of the most socially unequal and dangerous countries. Asylum seekers deported to Guatemala face protection issues, inadequate shelter, and lack of access to healthcare.
Honduras and El Salvador agreed to serve as “safe third countries” but they are not yet ready to accept asylum seekers. The capacity of these countries to manage an increased number of asylum cases is very low and some measures are already being challenged in the US courts. ?
Read the full ACAPS End of Year Report 2019
Information gaps and needs
- Limited information from humanitarian actors on WASH, education, and food security. Updates on the drought situation in the eastern ‘dry corridor’ are rare.
- Limited information on the number of displaced, their location and their needs. In 2015, 324,000 people were displaced because of violence. It is unclear whether these people migrated or displaced internally. Numbers of people fleeing El Salvador are not available: they are grouped into the population fleeing the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala).