El Salvador

Humanitarian Response Plan El Salvador (August 2021 to December 2022)


About This Document

This document was consolidated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team and the partners. The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is the presentation of a coordinated and strategic response conceived by humanitarian organizations to meet the acute needs of people affected by the emergency. It is based on the evidence of the needs described in the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) and addresses them.


On behalf of the UN Country Team in El Salvador, I wish to reiterate the need for strengthening humanitarian aid in the country in the wake of climate emergencies and the COVID-19 pandemic. We consider that this HRP provides us with an opportunity to scale up our contributions and thus, reach more people and communities in need of humanitarian assistance. We also wish to underscore the importance of humanitarian aid within the context of and its connection with sustainable development.

El Salvador’s exposure to climate and anthropogenic threats places it as a high-risk country (6.7) (LAC INFORM Index 2020), as shown in 2020 when the country faced a multiple emergencies between the COVID-19 pandemic, tropical storms Amanda, Cristobal, Laura, Eta and Iota and a landslide in Nejapa Municipality.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the country’s vulnerabilities, as described in the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021 (HNO) for Central America. In 2020, extreme poverty increased by 4.3 per cent, affecting 9.8 per cent of the people. The number of people facing food insecurity increased from 620,000 prior to the pandemic to about 1,043,661 mostly due to the economic crisis caused by COVID- 19, extreme climate events and structural challenges.

El Salvador has also historically dealt with high rates of violence. Although official data indicates that the rate of violent deaths has been declining, 2020 nevertheless saw 19.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. As for violence against women and girls, El Salvador’s rate (3.3) is among the region’s highest according to Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Sixty-three of every 100 women interviewed for the National Survey on Sexual Violence said that they suffered this violence. Those who have been forcibly displaced also report crime and violence as the main causes of internal displacement and departures to other countries in search of international protection.

The emergencies of 2020, combined with the country’s structural problems, increased the humanitarian needs of groups facing higher risks and vulnerabilities. The HNO indicated that 1.7 million people in El Salvador need some form of humanitarian assistance or protection. The emergencies laid bare gaps and needs related to access to livelihoods and other essential services, such as health, food, nutrition, education, water and basic sanitation.

Given the overall situation, we are presenting this HRP that, with the support of the international community and the coordinated work of all national actors, including the Government, private sector, civilian society, can help save lives, reduce human suffering and promote resilience.

The UN system and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), supporting the Government of El Salvador and its National Civil Protection System, reiterates its commitment to implementing the actions in this document to help implement human rights, gender equality and humanitarian principles. In keeping with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this plan honours its main motto of “leave no one behind.

Birgit Gerstenberg
UN Resident Coordinator in El Salvador


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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