• Crisis Severity ?
    3.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.8
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    3.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    3.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    2.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 17,100,000 Total population [?]
  • 2,960 Fatalities reported [?]
  • 3,800,000 People in Need [?]
  • 3,300,000 Moderate humanitarian conditions - Level 3 [?]
  • 174,000 Severe humanitarian conditions - Level 4 [?]

Overview

10/05/2021

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 3500 murders reported in 2020. ?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 January 2021, an estimated 7,000- 9,000 migrants left Honduras, 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

17/09/2021

This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Key Priorities

04/10/2021

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: The severe weather events experienced in 2020 (Hurricanes Eta and Iota) and the increase in poverty rates caused by COVID-19 (extreme poverty increased by 2.1% in the country) have worsened food insecurity and malnutrition in Guatemala. As a result, the number of people facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 and above) in May–August 2021 was estimated at 3,458,000 million people. In the same period, 47% of children were estimated to be chronically malnourished – the highest malnutrition rate in Latin America and the Caribbean. Projections show a decrease in acute food insecurity in Guatemala thanks to expected favourable climatic conditions and the implementation of COVID-19 containment measures with no major impact on movement and economic activities. It is estimated that 2.5 million people will face acute food insecurity between September 2021 and January 2022. ?

Impact of the rainy season

12/11/2021

During the rainy season, 906 incidents were reported across the country, mainly in June (216 incidents) and August (244 incidents). Landslides, floods, strong winds, and overflowing rivers have affected at least 1,489,365 people, and around 1,073 are at risk. ? 

From May to 27 October, following damages to homes, 11,903 evacuations were reported, and 687 people are living in temporary shelters. Slight (1,371), moderate (3,073), and severe (175) damages to homes were reported.? The most affected people are rural populations and indigenous communities, as their livelihoods are based on agriculture. ? The most affected departments are Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Petén, Quiché, Sololá, and Suchitepéquez. ?

Heavy rains have led to a decrease in crop yields and the loss of almost 50% of crops, affecting the livelihoods of indigenous and peasant communities.?  About 76% of the rural population lives in poverty, and the interruption of agricultural activities may further affect their situation.? Food insecurity is the main sectoral need at risk of being aggravated by the impact of the rainy season. 16.8% of the population across Guatemala is already undernourished, almost half of the population is severely or moderately food-insecure, and at least 49,8% of children suffer from malnutrition. ?

IMPACT OF COVID-19

13/09/2021

During 2020, COVID-19 has had a severe impact on the food security of the population in Central American and Caribbean countries because of pre-existing vulnerability conditions (high poverty rates, high informal employment, and low access to basic services). According to estimates by the World Food Programme, the number of people experiencing severe food insecurity in Central America quadrupled from 2.2 million to 8 million during 2020?. The lean season in August–September, coupled with the low labour demand resulting from the economic effects of COVID-19, is likely to lead to a deterioration of food insecurity in Guatemala during the next few months.?

The slow economic recovery has been affected by the third wave of COVID-19 that started in June. As at 7 September 2021, hospitals were at a 97% occupancy rate for critically ill patients ?. Although cases have been decreasing since 25 August, deaths from COVID-19 have been on an upward trend since the end of July as a result of the collapse of the hospital system and delays in vaccination and testing ?. The President asked the Congress to pass new measures, such as night-time mobility restrictions and a ban on crowds for a month, but the Congress did not approve them ?. According to data from the Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health, as at 6 September 2021, 1,510,663 Guatemalans were fully vaccinated, which represents only about 9% of the total population ?.

Information Gaps

12/11/2021
  • There is limited information on the number of displaced, their location and their needs. Numbers of people fleeing El Salvador are rarely available: they are grouped into the population fleeing the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala).?