- Recurrent shocks have been the norm in Central America over the past decades and will be the norm in the foreseeable future.
- Families expect shocks in particular drought but cannot manage them.
- Thus, drought is silently destroying people's means of livelihood, their ability to cope and recover.
- Of particular concern are the consequences for children who repeatedly, year after year do not have enough to eat.
- Shocks increase the huge income disparities that exist in these countries. With each harvest lost each job lost, political and social tensions arise.
- Governments recognize the silent destruction caused by droughts but have little capacity to respond.
The Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (ODM) and the Country Offices of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua carried out a standardized food and livelihood assessment between February and March 2002, in support of the preparation of WFP's Regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) - 2003-2006.
The principle objective of the assessment was to provide a more in depth understanding of food and livelihood security in the drought corridor and document how recurring shocks are affecting communities and families. Specifically, the assessment allowed WFP:
- To understand the causes of food and
livelihood insecurity and identify groups most vulnerable to natural and
economic shocks, in particular those groups with high malnutrition levels.
- To develop standardized targeting criteria to assist in the identification of those most in need of food assistance in the four countries.
- Profiles for the livelihood groups most vulnerable to natural disasters and economic shocks;
- Natural disaster trends in the drought corridor for the last ten years;
- Needs for the livelihood groups directly exposed to recent crisis/shocks;
- Food consumption changes in lean periods and the effect on vulnerable groups;
- Coping mechanisms and the extent to which the livelihoods of vulnerable groups are eroded by recurrent crisis;
- An assessment of local level capacity to respond to natural disasters and economic shocks;
- An assessment of effectiveness of the assistance so far and existing gaps in coverage that might require additional interventions.