• 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

  • 102,000 People displaced [?]
  • 143,000 People in poverty [?]



Protests against the reform of the social security system that began in April 2018 were instantly met by violent repression from Nicaraguan authorities, prompting a period of large-scale civil unrest characterised by protests, demonstrations, and strikes. Reports of violence, arbitrary detentions, harassment tactics, intimidation campaigns, and incidents of torture against opposition protesters and human rights defenders have increased and are likely to continue, with no political resolution in sight. ? The crisis has led some 52,000 to flee to Costa Rica. ?

The political crisis has led to economic turmoil, with Nicaragua formally falling into recession on 1 October 2018 for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2009. Unemployment has spiked, with an estimated 417,000 people losing their jobs between April and November 2018. ?

According to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH), 561 people were killed and 4,578 injured in relation to the crisis since April 2018, an increase from the 325 killed and 2,000 injured previously reported between April and August 2018. ?

Latest Developments


21/11/2020: Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm on 17 November, 25km south of Hurricane Eta’s landfall on 4 November. In Nicaragua, Iota has affected 400,000 people, killed six people, damaged 4,000 houses, and severed power supplies. Humanitarian access to affected coastal communities is limited. Iota also impacted the Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia, killing two people, injuring hundreds, and damaging over 98% of infrastructure in Providencia (pop. 5,000). Both islands have power outages and Providencia remains inaccessible to humanitarian assistance. In Colombia, flooding resulting from Iota has affected over 272,460 people and killed 26 including on the islands. In Venezuela, the hurricane caused damage and resulted in five casualties. Iota is on a virtually identical path to Eta, with flooding expected across Central America. Casualties and damage caused by Iota have been reported in Honduras, Guatemala and Panama. ?

As of 9 November, Hurricane Eta has affected 130,000 people and damaged or destroyed over 9,000 homes in the north and east of Nicaragua. 37,000 people are living in 348 in temporary shelters. Roads, bridges, and 16 health centres are damaged. Immediate needs include shelter, food and home repair.?

05/11/2020: Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on 3 November in Puerto Cabezas, primarily affecting Atlantico Norte department. Some 30,000 people in Nicaragua are displaced across 48 sites in churches, schools, temporary shelters, and with friends or relatives, with the exact breakdown unknown. A landslide in the mining area of Bonanza resulted in two deaths. Humanitarian access is constrained in the northeast of the country due to remoteness, flooded and blocked roads, and interruptions to power supply. The needs of people (displaced and not displaced) living in the affected areas are not clear. Flood warnings have been raised for parts of El Salvador, Mexico, and Jamaica as the hurricane moves across Central America.?

For more information on the humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the relevant paragraph below.

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

COVID-19 Outbreak


Nicaragua has officially confirmed 16 cases of COVID-19 with five deaths. No confinement measures or lockdown have been imposed in the country, with NGOs and doctors casting doubts on official governmental figures. Classes have resumed following the Easter break, borders are open, and mass gatherings are not prohibited, with higher risk of exposure to infection for all citizens. Testing availability is severely limited, as is the capacity of the healthcare system, which is short on medical professionals. Very little information is available on the humanitarian response. Nicaragua shares land borders with Honduras and Costa Rica, both of which have active outbreaks with hundreds of cases.?

Key priorities


Protection: Large-scale civic unrest has persisted since the beginning of the crisis, and the government’s repressive strategies have intensified, raising serious protection concerns. As of January 2019, there were 767 people in prison for protesting against the government. ?

Food security and livelihoods: Located in Central America’s ‘Dry Corridor’, Nicaragua is experiencing high levels of food insecurity due to the lack of rainfall from June-August 2018 that  caused significant damage to the 2018 primera season (harvested July to mid-August), with an average of 20% in agricultural losses recorded across the region. Increasing food prices resulting from economic recession also limit food access. ?

Information gaps and needs

  • Current data on economic activity is missing because the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BNC) has not provided updates since June 2018, and the Nicaraguan government is still downplaying the economic crisis and contesting figures.