Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)3.20 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.3.40 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.3.40 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.2.70 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.3.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Central America: Complex crises and migration in El Salvador...
Gang violence and natural disasters lead to high numbers of Salvadorans internally displaced or migrating to the northern America, besides contributing to food insecurity in the country. Between January–November 2022, some 29.000 Salvadorans were intercepted by the Mexican authorities owing to their irregular migratory situation.? Migrants often travel individually or in caravans to Mexico. Along the way, they face several risks related to organised crime groups that often kidnap migrants for extortion, exercise gender-based violence, and forcibly recruit several of them.? At least 175,000 people have been internally displaced between 2008 and 2022 because of violence resulting from drug trafficking and organised crime (assassinations, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, gender-based violence, and kidnappings). Another 119,000 people were displaced as a result of natural disasters (floods, landslides, and hurricanes). ?
El Salvador is part of the Central American Dry Corridor and experiences irregular rainfall and prolonged periods of drought, leading to major crop losses. The Atlantic hurricane season, which tends to last from May/June to November each year, often hits the country, causing flooding and destruction of crops and houses. Food insecurity in El Salvador has been aggravated by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in fuel prices, and the impact of the rainy season between May–October.? 8.5% of the population is considered undernourished, while 47% are moderately or severely food-insecure, especially in rural areas where the rates of multidimensional poverty are highest ?
No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.
El Salvador faced High humanitarian access constraints in the past six months, scoring 3/5 in ACAPS Humanitarian Access Index. The humanitarian access situation remains stable. Gang activity led to the declaration of a state of emergency and mobility controls have been imposed in certain communities, reducing access to affected areas. Additionally, fuel shortages have decreased the mobility of humanitarian agencies and ability to reach people in need. Since August, heavy rains have been causing flooding and landslides in different areas, including gang-controlled neighbourhoods.
For more information you can consult our latest Global Humanitarian Access Overview – December 2022.
Food Security and livelihoods: Strong climatic variations, such as droughts and floods, often affect the stability of harvests. Inflation, violence, and the economic effects of COVID-19 in 2022 have also increased food costs and reduced purchasing power. 8.5% of the population is considered undernourished, while 47% are moderately or severely food-insecure, especially in rural areas where the rates of multidimensional poverty are highest. ?
Protection: the population frequently faces protection risks as a result of gang violence. People living in gang-controlled neighbourhoods face extortion, assaults, kidnappings, confinement, and crossfire. The current crackdown on potential gang members compounds these effects, as the Government has categorised and stigmatised people with characteristics that are considered exclusively gang-related (such as tattoos) and denied assistance and protection to these individuals and groups. ?
State of Emergency
The El Salvadorian Government put in place a state of emergency with an indefinite extension in March 2022. This extension has led to an increase in the needs of people living in gang-affected neighbourhoods and to a humanitarian crisis in prisons because of the high number of detainees for alleged criminal gang activities. The gangs, though currently poorly organised, could potentially strike back to regain control. ? Mobility restrictions and militarisation will further limit humanitarian aid access. As at 3 December, more than 10,000 soldiers were stationed in Soyapango municipality, near the capital of San Salvador, with orders to detain any suspected gang members ?. The policy poses risks of stigmatisation and a lack of protection guarantees ?
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 2019, 454,000 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).?