Bolivia + 5 more

Latin America & The Caribbean - Weekly Situation Update (12-18 October 2020) As of 19 October 2020

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

REGIONAL: COVID-19

Cases are referenced from PAHO/WHO 18 October COVID-19 Report - https://bit.ly/2O25YQw

As of 18 October, there are 10,489,426 cases (+3.9 per cent from 11 October), 379,991 deaths and 8,950,051 recovered cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.

KEY FIGURES

10.4M CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN AS OF 18 OCTOBER

EL SALVADOR

13 DAYS SINCE EL SALVADOR LAST REPORTED FEWER THAN 100 DAILY NEW CASES

Following a marked increase in new daily cases since a low of 89 on 5 October, El Salvador is seeing a second wave of infections that is prompting the re-implementation of localized lockdown measures. The Government ordered defence authorities to implement barriers and checkpoints around the Chalchuapa municipality in the Santa Ana department, where positive testing rates have jumped to more than 27 per cent, a rate not seen since the peak of the pandemic in late July and early August.

Deaths have jumped from 20 a week to 32 since epidemiological week 38 (13-19 September), while recovered cases have dropped from 1,756 a week to 979 during the same period.

The Ministry of Health attributes the rise in cases to the general population relaxing personal prevention measures following the sustained decrease that led to fewer than 100 daily cases for most of September.

BRAZIL

15M EMERGENCY CASH RECIPIENTS IN BRAZIL AT RISK ONCE PROGRAMME ENDS AFTER 2020

The Government reduced its monthly emergency cash transfers for millions of vulnerable people, halving the aid from about US$108.00 to $54.00.

The emergency aid programme, implemented in April to help 15 million people as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold, is set to finish by the end of 2020.

With the pandemic leading to soaring unemployment, millions of aid recipients risk slipping back into poverty, millions who must also contend with rising food costs. Brazil’s statistics agency reports a 7.3 per cent increase in food prices during 2020, an increase that features hikes as high as 41 per cent for staples such as rice and 30 per cent for milk.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

7.4% POTENTIAL RATE OF SEVERE MALNUTRITION IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN 2021

The COVID-19 crisis’ economic impact on formal and informal sector workers continues to threaten food security.
Per the Dominican Central Bank, the pandemic has reduced working hours and caused a 12 per cent drop in hourly income in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, with informal economy workers taking the hardest hit.

WFP indicates that the basic food basket now costs an average of two and a half minimum wages. Worsening food security may lead to a potential increase in severe malnutrition from 1 per cent prior to the pandemic to more than 7.4 per cent by 2021.

BOLIVIA

1.7M HECTARES BURNED BY WILDFIRES IN BOLIVIA AS OF 16 OCTOBER

Defence officials say the ongoing wildfires in Bolivia have claimed some 1.7 million hectares of land across the country, mostly in eastern Bolivia. As of 16 October, the officials say there are 82 active fires, with 57 in the Santa Cruz department alone, adding that more than 1,700 people from across various institutions have deployed to extinguish the fires.

Following the Government’s emergency declaration and requests for international help, Spain deployed a team of specialized firefights to aid response efforts. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is also supporting response with US$100,000 for the purchase firefighting equipment, supplies and tools, while Canada is supporting aerial firefighting response.

PARAGUAY

12K WILDFIRE HOTSPOTS ACROSS PARAGUAY, PROMPTING EMERGENCY DECLARATION

The effects of La Niña are driving record temperatures, droughts and reduced river levels across Paraguay, increasing the climate-related vulnerabilities and prompting a national emergency over ensuing fires.
Paraguay saw temperatures of 45.5° C in late September, the highest ever on record by nearly 2 degrees.

At least nine departments have seen record high temperatures in October as well. Coupled with an extensive drought that has left various parts of Paraguay without rain since July, the high temperatures have led to 12,000 wildfire hotspots prompting a national emergency declaration requesting international firefighting assistance.
The high temperatures and drought are also causing the Paraguay river to shrink to its lowest levels in half a century, further increasing vulnerabilities. Besides limiting Paraguay’s access to fresh water, the decreased water levels are limiting cargo traffic on the river, incurring higher costs for transporting fuel, agricultural supplies, food and other imports. Commercial interest groups say the river is shrinking at a rate of 1.2-1.6 inches each day. As Paraguay is landlocked, about 85 per cent of Paraguay’s foreign trade happens via the river. Meteorologists in Paraguay forecast La Niña to last until December.

ARGENTINA

7.7K KM2 OF LAND BURNED IN ARGENTINA IN 2020, ALMOST THE SIZE OF PUERTO RICO

La Niña’s effect on rain cycles have contributed to wildfires claiming nearly 7,700 km2 of land in Argentina so far in 2020, an area almost the size of Puerto Rico, with the provinces of Córdoba and Entre Ríos accounting for 4,500 km2. Argentina’s SNMF fire response service says that drought is fuelling the fires, as many are burning in dry areas that would normally be flooded at this time of the year.

The Government has deployed thousands of firefighters and various aircraft to tackle the fires. Córdoba risk management officials say the province has only seen 459mm of rain in 2020, marking the worst drought in 55 years in the area. The officials say the magnitude of the fires is forcing them to prioritize protecting lives and property over controlling the fires.

Per environmental officials in Entre Ríos, the province saw just 1,065 hectares burned between 2018 and 2019, compared to the massive 165,200 hectares burned so far in 2020, citing dried up streams and river channels that ordinarily serve as firebreaks and humidity sources.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.