El Salvador + 9 more

Latin America & The Caribbean - Weekly Situation Update (1-7 June 2020) As of June 8 2020

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KEY FIGURES

149.8K PEOPLE IN EL SALVADOR AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORMS
394K PEOPLE IN GUATEMALA AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORMS

Tropical Storm Amanda crossed Central America’s Pacific coast on 31 May, causing heavy rains, flooding and landslides in El Salvador and in parts of Guatemala and Honduras. Amanda’s remnants later headed in a north-west direction to the Bay of Campeche, where environmental conditions gave way to the formation of Tropical Storm Cristobal on 3 June off Mexico’s Atlantic coast, prompting rains across southern Mexico and parts of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras already affected by Amanda. Cristobal cleared Mexico late 5 June as it began making its way to the southern coast of the United States.

EL SALVADOR

The Ministry of Foreign affairs requested international assistance, as Amanda and Cristobal affected 29,968 families, roughly some 150,000 people, mostly in the departments of La Libertad, Santa Ana, San Miguel and San Salvador. Many areas received upwards of 500mm of rain, with some areas recording 800mm, which is almost equivalent to the volume of water from Hurricane Dorian in 2019. The Government declared a state of emergency to respond and evacuated families from at-risk areas. WFP estimates that there are some 350,000 food-insecure people in the hardest hit municipalities, while Shelter partners are delivering supplies to respond to the needs of more than 12,600 people across 352 shelters.

GUATEMALA

Amanda and Cristobal caused excessive rainfall and high winds that left flooding and landslides around eastern and central-north Guatemala. The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) reports that the storms collectively affected more than 394,000 people as of 4 June, rendering 881 people homeless while also causing two deaths. The storms damaged 880 homes and placed another 967 at risk. CONRED continues to lead the response, but with Guatemala’s mountainous terrain, there are still risks of extra flooding and land movement due to soil saturation. Guatemala’s storm history suggests that early storm impacts in May and June are precursors to busier wet seasons that create added humanitarian needs.

HONDURAS

Amanda and Cristobal affected 249 families and led to five deaths in Honduras, according to the Permanent Commission for Contingencies (COPECO), who remains concerned with soil saturation increasing the risk of landslides and collapses.

MEXICO

Cristobal made landfall on 3 June off the southern gulf of Mexico’s Atlantic coastline, affecting municipalities across the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Yucatán with landslides and floods. Civil Protection reports more than 2,000 affected homes and more than 1,500 people in shelters. There are no reports of injuries or deaths. National and local governments are responding to the effects with their own resources and capacities.

KEY FIGURES

1.3M CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN AS OF 7 JUNE

REGIONAL: COVID-19

As of 7 June, PAHO/WHO report 1,300,618 cases and 64,285 deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as 626,162 recovered cases.

KEY FIGURES

1.5K MIGRANTS IN PANAMA PROTESTING SHELTER CONDITIONS AMID PANDEMIC

CENTRAL AMERICA: COVID-19 HONDURAS

Authorities at Tegucigalpa's Escuela Hospital, the main public hospital, say they are resorting to placing COVID-19 patients in tents while finding other hospitals to take them on, warning that the situation may soon become dire. Additionally, the national cardiopulmonary centre says that their supply of protective equipment is set to run out in a week.

Rainfall from Amanda and Cristobal affected public health centres in the Comayagua department, with nearly all 92 facilities reporting leaks or flooding. The damages come as Central America’s rainy season, a key trigger for vector-borne diseases such as dengue, kicks off amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

PANAMA

Migrants in the La Peñita community of the eastern border province of Darién are protesting conditions at their shelter amid COVID-19 fears and are demanding the Government allow them to cross Panama to reach the western border with Costa Rica.

The protests, which grew as large as 1,500 people, saw repeated threats to burn down the shelter. Following negotiations with authorities, the shelter will receive 250 new mattresses and food rations will now incorporate cooked meals. Additionally, authorities will transfer 400 migrants to Chiriquí on the western border and arrange for voluntary returns.

KEY FACTS

Some South American countries are beginning to implement localized loosening of restrictions despite increasing caseloads and strain on public health systems.

SOUTH AMERICA: COVID-19 REGIONAL

PAHO/WHO data shows that South America’s seven-day rolling average of new cases continues to climb, mostly due to Brazil’s rampant case growth accounting for more than half the total. Badly affected cities in Brazil, including the Amazonas state capital of Manaus and Rio de Janeiro, are nevertheless resuming activities.

Despite the collapse of Manaus’s healthcare system, resulting in increased reports of deaths at home and burials in mass graves, officials began loosening restrictions on non- essential businesses amid 40,000 cases in Amazonas. Ecuador, one of the hardest hit countries, resumed international flights during the week. Parts of Bolivia are resuming limited work, commerce and public transport despite localized outbreaks.

KEY FIGURES

54% OF SURVEYED HOUSEHOLDS IN ECUADOR INDICATE ADEQUATE FOOD ACCESS
21K BUSINESSES IN PERU RESTARTING ACTIVITIES

SOUTH AMERICA: COVID-19 BOLIVIA

The Government downsized Bolivia’s ministries, incorporating the Ministries of Culture and Sports into the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Communication into the Presidency. Bolivia also ordered the closure of Bolivia’s embassies in Iran and Nicaragua. The measures will allow for increased spending to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is currently scrambling to contain various outbreaks, notably in the Beni department, which is now the national epicentre, as well as areas with recent protests over social issues including election dates.

ECUADOR

According to UNICEF, one in every two children in Ecuador do not have adequate WASH supplies in their homes, with this rising to eight in every ten children in indigenous communities. UNICEF indicates that about 20 per cent of schools do not have access to hand-washing capacities, a situation that is worse off in rural areas.

UNICEF is advocating the continuation of remote learning and expanding these channels to television and radio, since the requisite internet access for online tools is not widespread. UNICEF is supporting connection services for more than 4,000 public sector educators. UNICEF also indicates that only 54 per cent of homes surveyed by the UN indicate adequate food access, with 11 per cent unable to access sufficient food and 35 per cent only able to partially access sufficient food.

PERU

The Government extended the state of emergency to 7 September as Peru enters the second phase of economic recovery despite a growing caseload. To date, some 21,000 businesses have restarted activities, causing economic activity to jump to 72.8 per cent from 44 per cent. This second phase will benefit smaller businesses via State business credit programs. Despite contagion fears, street merchants are currently concentrated in urban commerce centres in different cities across the country.

KEY FIGURES

$250M DISBURSED BY IMF TO ASSIST BAHAMAS COVID-19 RESPONSE

CARIBBEAN: COVID-19 BAHAMAS

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a US$250 million disbursement to help Bahamas address financial needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bahamas has been dealing with the crisis on the heels of the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, which plunged the economy into a deep recession and created significant financing needs.

The funds, made available through IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), will provide much needed fiscal assistance, boost resources for essential COVID-19 expenditures and catalyse additional support from development partners.

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