Overview of the crisis
The humanitarian situation along Central America’s Dry Corridor has reached crisis levels, with more than 3.5 million people facing food insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The 2015 drought is considerably more severe compared to the previous year, and the cumulative effect is further exacerbated by El Niño conditions. Throughout the Dry Corridor, communities are facing one of the worst crises in decades.
Insufficient and erratic rainfall has resulted in the loss of staple grain crops and the death of thousands of cattle in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. In addition to the drought, countries have also been affected by a coffee rust epidemic since 2012, which has limited livelihood opportunities.
Food security has been severely eroded by high seasonal food prices, limited labour opportunities and crop losses.
Hardest hit are families who depend on subsistence farming, general day labourers and landless farmers who have had their livelihoods destroyed and their resilience eroded. These low income households are dependent on rainfall as they work in farming without irrigation, have limited access to basic health services and education and face difficulties in obtaining the basic food basket.
Guatemala and Honduras have been the most affected. Despite mitigation measures in these countries, food insecurity has deteriorated significantly. As a result, 2.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including food, health care, and activities to recover livelihoods and increase resilience.
In July 2015, the Government of Honduras declared a State of Emergency. More than 1.35 million individuals in 146 municipalities have been affected by moderate and severe food insecurity.
In Guatemala approximately 1.5 million individuals, corresponding to 248,000 families, are in need of humanitarian assistance in 108 municipalities affected by moderate and severe food insecurity
The Government of El Salvador has not declared a state of emergency. The humanitarian community is supporting Government efforts with funding and technical assistance, including a CERF request, to meet the needs of the affected population.
There is a 95 per cent chance that El Niño will continue into the initial months of 2016, according to CIIFEN (The Ecuador based International Centre for the Investigation of the Effects of el Nino) Most models suggest that El Niño will intensify even further in the first months of 2016. The outlook for this “postrera” (second planting) season is poor due to the overlap with the “primera” crops (May –August) which were delayed by lack of rainfall and high temperatures.
The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) predicts that in May 2016, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador will be experiencing crisis level acute food insecurity (IPC3), where 1 in 5 households will face critical food consumption gaps with acute malnutrition rates.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.