Guatemala: Fighting hunger in rural communities

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Rosa Elvira and her family live in Guatemala in the Central America Dry Corridor. For them and more than 10 million people living in this area, life is a daily struggle. Recurrent droughts and floods destroy crops and kill livestock, making it almost impossible to have regular harvests.

Poverty and malnutrition are an everyday reality. The Dry Corridor knows no borders: it runs for 1,600 kilometres across seven countries from Southern Mexico to Panama. Guatemala is one of the hardest hit: it has not seen good rainfall since 2015.

“The humanitarian needs in this region are significant: around 4.4 million persons are food insecure. Within the Dry Corridor, Guatemala has the highest index of acute malnutrition,” says Liesbeth Schockaert, Technical Assistant for Central America and Mexico at the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

In Guatemala alone, more than 1 million people are at risk of acute malnutrition, and the World Food Program warns that almost every second child under 5 years of age is malnourished. Rosa Elvira knows this well: her son Axel was barely 2 when he was urgently hospitalised for 40 days for acute malnutrition.

The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown measures have made things even worse, bringing the rural economy to a halt.

The European Union funds OXFAM and its local partners in Guatemala to reach the most vulnerable communities and bring them life-saving food assistance. Rosa Elvira’s family is among the more than 5,000 beneficiaries of these food and hygiene items distributions.

Video © European Union, 2020