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

Key figures

  • 14,900,000 Total population [?]
  • 1,876 Fatalities reported [?]
  • 3,300,000 People in Need [?]
  • 2,872,000 Moderate humanitarian conditions - Level 3 [?]
  • 428,000 Severe humanitarian conditions - Level 4 [?]



Guatemala is situated between El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, and forms part of the Dry Corridor of Central America. It has one of the region’s largest economies but is also one of the most socially unequal and most dangerous countries, with 1603 murders reported from March to July 2019.?Guatemala is experiencing prolonged seasonal dryness in its eastern and western regions, causing crop losses of basic grains (e.g. corn and beans) and resulting in people adopting negative coping strategies such as changing their diets, reducing quantity and quality of their food and quickly depleting their incomes on market purchases to fill gaps, particularly  in the western areas, leading to increased Crisis (IPC 3) food security outcomes. An estimated 6.5 million people, equivalent to 38% of the total population, will face Crisis and Emergency (IPC 4) food security outcomes over 2018-2023.?

Violence in Guatemala, and other countries of Central America, creates significant protection issues, especially for women, and poses a major constraint for humanitarian access. In October and November 2018, an estimated 7,000-10,000 migrants left Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to form two large caravans and additional smaller groups travelling towards the United States border. Migrants continue to migrate through Mexico to its shared border with the US, facing danger and risk throughout their journey. Migrants aim to escape violence and persecution, improve their economic situation, or reunite with their families. ?

INFORM measures Guatemala's risk of a humanitarian crisis and disaster for 2020 as High at 5.8/10.?

Latest Developments


From 15-17 January, a caravan of up to 9,000 migrants and asylum seekers from Honduras entered Guatemala, mainly through the El Florido border point (eastern Zacapa department). Violent confrontations between Guatemalan security forces and migrants occurred in the department as authorities attempted to contain and break up the caravan. Hundreds of migrants have managed to reach the northwestern border town of Tecún Amán, hoping to cross into Mexico, with many intending to continue their journey towards the United States. Humanitarian actors are monitoring developments and preparing to attend to migrants’ protection, food, and shelter needs. The needs of unaccompanied or separated children are of particular concern. This is the second caravan to leave Honduras following Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November. COVID-19 restrictions and crop, asset and livelihood losses caused by the hurricanes have worsened the socioeconomic situation in Central America. Many migrants also cite protection issues linked to gang violence as a reason for leaving.?

Over 1.3 million people (267,000 households) are affected by crop damage caused by the tropical storms Eta and Iota. Households who depend entirely on these crops to sustain themselves until the next harvest (September 2021) are most vulnerable to increased levels of food insecurity. The WFP estimate that most households are currently going hungry in affected communities. 69% of markets in affected areas have no food supplies.?

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

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?



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.?

Info Gaps

  • There is limited information on the number of displaced, their location and their needs. In 2019, 242,000 people were displaced because of violence. It is unclear whether these people migrated or displaced internally. Numbers of people fleeing El Salvador are rarely available: they are grouped into the population fleeing the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala).?

Key Priorities


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. ?

Food Security: Flooding caused by Hurricanes Eta and Iota has completely destroyed coffee and cardamom plantations and affected other major crops such as rice, bananas, and corn. As a result, projections of the number of people facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 and above) for the period from November 2020–March 2021 are higher than what was initially estimated in October, increasing from 2.7 million to 3.7 million.?