El Salvador + 6 more

UNHCR North of Central America Situation Fact Sheet November - December 2020

News and Press Release
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Around 515,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from northern Central America in the world and 318,600 internally displaced people in Honduras and El Salvador are considered people of concern to UNHCR.

Tropical storms caused significant damages and affected 6 million persons in Central America, including 600,000 displaced people. Connections between food insecurity and violence reveals as one of the main drivers for people to flee.

Coordination with partners, UN agencies and authorities is ongoing to support the emergency response. UNHCR supports main areas affected by the storms where high protection risks have been identified.


A complex inter-relation between gang violence and domestic abuse, food insecurity, increasing poverty, and climate change, are likely to progressively increase forced displacement from NCA, already visible in the uptick of asylum claims in countries like Mexico.

In countries of origin, violence and insecurity for entire communities appears to be on the rise once again.

UNHCR and UNICEF issued the key findings report Families on the Run which draws from survey responses and in-depth interviews, documenting interrelated and compelling reasons behind the shift in forced displacement trends in northern Central America, from individuals– notably children –to entire family units fleeing.

The socioeconomic impact of the pandemic continues affecting people of concern. In El Salvador, poverty levels arose from 31 to 41 per cent and in Guatemala, labour informality is rising from 70 to 75 per cent. The number of refugees and asylum seekers requesting assistance increased across the region, mainly to cover basic needs such as rent, food and medicine.

UNHCR continues to provide support through hygiene kits, PPEs, food kits and provision of specialized protection services such as psychosocial support, health care and protection information.