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Country analysis

Guatemala


In Guatemala, around 5.3 million people, more than 25% of the total population, require humanitarian assistance. Their main needs include access to food, emergency medical services, drinking water, WASH services, housing, and protection.

Children under five, IDPs, migrants with irregular status, and refugees need assistance the most. They encounter major limitations in accessing basic services either because they do not know how to access them or because they lack documentation. At least three million people in the country face severe acute food insecurity – i.e. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse levels – 323,448 of whom are in a state of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity given limited food access.

Guatemala is prone to hydrometeorological and geophysical hazards. Prolonged droughts, high temperatures, cyclones, and floods threaten the country, along with the eruption of volcanoes and earthquakes. The country is part of the Ring of Fire and has four currently active volcanoes. Guatemala is also part of Central America's Dry Corridor, which makes it more vulnerable to weather changes compared to other countries in the region.

Violence, corruption, and organised crime are major issues in Guatemala. Armed groups have been expanding and getting stronger in past years, heightening protection needs nationwide.

(OCHA 20/12/2023, IPC 28/06/2023, FAO accessed 18/01/2024, World Data accessed 18/01/2024)

In Guatemala, around 5.3 million people, more than 25% of the total population, require humanitarian assistance. Their main needs include access to food, emergency medical services, drinking water, WASH services, housing, and protection.

Children under five, IDPs, migrants with irregular status, and refugees need assistance the most. They encounter major limitations in accessing basic services either because they do not know how to access them or because they lack documentation. At least three million people in the country face severe acute food insecurity – i.e. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse levels – 323,448 of whom are in a state of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity given limited food access.

Guatemala is prone to hydrometeorological and geophysical hazards. Prolonged droughts, high temperatures, cyclones, and floods threaten the country, along with the eruption of volcanoes and earthquakes. The country is part of the Ring of Fire and has four currently active volcanoes. Guatemala is also part of Central America's Dry Corridor, which makes it more vulnerable to weather changes compared to other countries in the region.

Violence, corruption, and organised crime are major issues in Guatemala. Armed groups have been expanding and getting stronger in past years, heightening protection needs nationwide.

(OCHA 20/12/2023, IPC 28/06/2023, FAO accessed 18/01/2024, World Data accessed 18/01/2024)

Latest updates on country situation

20 December 2023

5.3 million people are projected to require humanitarian assistance in Guatemala in 2024 – an increase of 300,000 from 2023. Their key needs are access to food (particularly for children under 5 years old and IDPs), healthcare services, WASH, housing, and protection. Food insecurity spread in 2023 to new municipalities and communities outside the Dry Corridor, historically the most affected region in the country. This is partly caused by the impact of El Niño, which has compounded droughts and tropical storms. The availability of water was also reduced by heat waves and droughts in 2023. The number of people on the move in Central America increased by 200% in 2023, resulting in a heightened demand for humanitarian services in countries along the route to North America. (OCHA 20/12/2023, OCHA 02/01/2024)

15 November 2023

As at 10 November 2023, heavy rainfall and strong winds had affected more than 4.5 million people since the start of the rainy season in May. The disaster had led to the evacuation of nearly 23,600 people, killed at least 65, and damaged more than 7,700 buildings. People likely need shelter, water, and food. (PAHO 13/11/2023, ECHO 12/10/2023)

15 August 2023

Since the start of the rainy season in May 2023, heavy rainfall had affected more than 1.55 million people in the central and southern regions of the country as at 11 August. Among those affected, more than 4,500 have evacuated from their homes, and at least 8,900 are still at risk of evacuation. Nearly 25 people have died in nine departments. As at 14 August, the rains had moderately affected over 3,100 houses and severely damaged 116 others. There is limited information about current needs, but in previous flooding incidents during the rainy season, people needed water, food, and shelter. Flooding and landslides have affected agricultural activities, and food prices are likely to increase. The rains have also damaged roads and bridges, making access to certain areas difficult until repair activities are completed. (CONRED accessed 14/08/2023, FEWS NET 02/08/2023, OCHA 07/08/2023)

current crises
in Guatemala


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

GTM001 - Complex crisis

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Violence
Socio-political
Other seasonal event

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.5 High

Access constraints

1.0

Analysis products
on Guatemala

Guatemala: heavy rains in northeastern departments

24 November 2023

Guatemala: heavy rains in northeastern departments

DOCUMENT / PDF / 292 KB

Since 1 November 2023, above-average rainfall has been severely affecting Guatemala, mainly because of a cold front passing through the country and El Niño intensifying the rainy season. This rainy season has extended beyond the typical May–October period and has damaged several roads and bridges.

Natural hazards
Central America: Complex crises and migration

05 January 2023

Central America: Complex crises and migration

DOCUMENT / PDF / 1 MB

This report presents the key drivers of migration and highlights the risks faced while in transit in four countries of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Although there are commonalities in the four countries, the report highlights and provides some outlook into each country’s specific situation in terms of humanitarian constraints and needs.

Mixed migration

Attached resources

Nicaragua: Dry spell in the north

24 July 2019

Nicaragua: Dry spell in the north

DOCUMENT / PDF / 502 KB

An El Niño phenomenon, although weak, has developed since February affecting several Central American countries, in particular Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, known as the Dry Corridor. The most vulnerable households are likely to face Crisis (IPC-3) outcomes and are likely to resort to negative coping strategies, including reduced food consumption and sale of productive assets. Needs are likely to include food assistance, livelihood support and WASH.

Natural hazards
Guatemala: Migrant Caravan

29 October 2018

Guatemala: Migrant Caravan

DOCUMENT / PDF / 291 KB

Since 13 October, several thousand migrants have left Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to form two large caravans and multiple smaller groups travelling by foot towards the United States border. Protection concerns, as well as, urgent food, water and shelter needs, have been reported.

Mixed migration
Guatemala: Fuego Volcano eruption

08 June 2018

Guatemala: Fuego Volcano eruption

DOCUMENT / PDF / 878 KB

Fuego Volcano, the most active volcano in Guatemala erupted on 3 June generating a column of ash, lava, and pyroclastic flows up to 10km from the crater. The eruption affected over 1.7 million people in Sacatepéquez, Escuintla, and Chimaltenango departments. On 5 June a new violent descent of pyroclastic lava flow led to new evacuations and casualties. 

Natural hazards
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