A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
A massive population movement, known as a caravan, departed from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 14 January 2020. These migration flows have been occurring in the Central American Northern Triangle since 13 October 2018, when the first caravan of 8,500 people, originating in Honduras, caused a humanitarian crisis at the Guatemala-Mexico border.
Some 2,000 people, including men, women, young people, pregnant women,
LGBTIQ community members, and children, departed from San Pedro Sula on 14 January 2020. On 15 January, Guatemala’s Migration Institute registered 662 individuals entering the country through the Customs Office at Corinto,
Izabal, and 1,612 individuals through the Customs Office at Agua Caliente,
Chiquimula, both in north-eastern Guatemala. In the following days, the number of migrants crossing the country increased to approximately 4,000 people, according to Guatemalan migration authorities.
Migrants are still using two main routes: one starting at the Agua Caliente border crossing in Chiquimula, continuing through Guatemala City, and ending at the southern Guatemala-Mexico border in the city of Tecún Umán in the municipality of Ayutla, San Marcos, using the CA-2 highway; and the second starting at the Corinto border crossing in Izabal department, continuing along the PET-15 highway at Km 243 to the municipality of Santa Elena, Petén and ending at the border crossing at Técnica and El Ceibo (Petén- Guatemala-Tenosique-Mexico). Migrants travel through Guatemala either on foot or take collective buses, mostly using Casa del Migrante collective centres to rest during their journeys along the route.
With the arrival of COVID-19 to the Americas, all borders have been strengthened, which in Guatemala have been closed to control migrants as part of the measures taken by the Government of Guatemala. With the government restrictions imposed after the appearance of the first case (13 March), many of the centres housing migrants have had to close or increase their sanitary controls, which has forced many migrants to resort to inadequate migration routes for their journeys to Mexico and the United States. Given the context, migrants face xenophobia and discrimination because they are suspected of being responsible for spreading COVID-19. As of the operation's closeout date - 25 July 2020 - Guatemala's Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance reports 44,492 confirmed cases, 11,748 active cases, 1,699 deaths and 31,045 recoveries.