• 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

  • 200,000 People displaced [?]



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 150,000 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. ?

At least 355 people were killed, some 2000 injured, and 169 detained for political reasons in relation to the crisis since April 2018 ?

Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Humanitarian Access



Nicaragua faced High humanitarian access constraints in the past six months, scoring 3/5 in ACAPS Humanitarian Access Index. The humanitarian access situation remained stable. 

For more information you can consult our latest Global Humanitarian Access Overview – July 2022




Government crackdown on the opposition and economic uncertainty surrounding the upcoming elections result in a spike in the number of Nicaraguan migrants and asylum seekers with food, health, and protection needs

A deterioration in the humanitarian situation followed election results and the new presidential mandate in Nicaragua. Prior to the elections, the Nicaraguan Government imprisoned more than 36 opposition leaders, seven of whom were presidential candidates, and several other human rights defenders.? By 2022, at least 25 NGOs have ceased to operate, constraining humanitarian access.? In 2021, between 144,000–170,000 Nicaraguans migrated, the highest number since the sociopolitical crisis started in 2018.?

By early 2022, 350,000 refugees and asylum seekers (or 85% of the migrant population) were living in Costa Rica.? As anticipated, 2021 had the highest number (approximately 53,000) of asylum requests from Nicaraguans in Costa Rica.? Nicaraguan migration to Costa Rica started increasing in the months before the elections, driven by fear and threats from the Ortega regime.? Only about 11% of asylum seekers aimed to avoid reprisals from the Nicaraguan Government.? Nicaraguans in Costa Rica continue to face xenophobia and violence.?


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. ?

Food security and livelihoods:  Nicaragua is experiencing high levels of food insecurity due to the impacts of Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Increasing food prices resulting from economic recession and the COVID -19 pandemic also limits food access. ?

COVID-19 Outbreak


Nicaragua has officially confirmed  6,989 cases of COVID-19 with 183 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.?

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.