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
El Salvador: Drought
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–August 2021, 77,117 Salvadorans have reached the US-Mexico border – an increase of more than 68,000 migrants compared to the same period in 2020. 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 114,000 people were internally displaced during 2020 because of violence resulting from drug trafficking and organised crime (assassinations, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, gender-based violence, and kidnappings). Another 17,000 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 between 2020–2021 by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in fuel prices, and the impact of the rainy season between May–October.? About 26.2% of all households in El Salvador live in poverty, which increases vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition.?
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 has been deteriorating because 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.
For more information you can consult our latest Global Humanitarian Access Overview – July 2022.
Food Security and livelihoods: The economic impacts of COVID-19 and the consequences of the natural disasters experienced during 2020 (mainly hurricanes Eta and Iota) have led to a considerable increase in the number of food-insecure people. While in 2019 around 302,258 people were food-insecure (IPC Phase 3 or above), between July–August 2021, at least 841,190 people were reported to be food-insecure, representing 13% of the country's population .?
Protection: El Salvador's homicide rates are among the highest in the world. In 2018, El Salvador's homicide rate was 52 per 100,000 inhabitants, making it the country with the highest rate in the world.?Gangs often recruit large numbers of children and young people to join their ranks. By 2016, 42% of gang-related homicides were committed by youths under the age of 24, and 56% of the victims were under the age of 18.?
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 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).?