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Guatemala: Population Movement Emergency Plan of Action DREF Operation n° MDRGT017

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the situation

On 23 July 2021, the Guatemalan Institute of Migration (IGM) shared information regarding an alert issued about a possible mass movement (“Caravan”) of 12,000 people arriving from Honduras at the end of July. The migration authorities are carrying out inter-institutional coordination activities to address it comprehensively according to the capacities of each institution. Emphasis is made on the importance of attending in a dignified and prioritized manner to vulnerable groups that could be part of this massive movement. The IGM also indicates that it maintains communication with migratory authorities from Honduras.

According to social networks, between 9,000 and 12,000 people are expected to enter Guatemalan territory in mixed flows, including children, adolescents, adults, men, and women. This information was shared from Honduras through coordination meetings between the Guatemalan Red Cross (GRC), Honduran Red Cross (HRC), IFRC, and ICRC. Due to the rapid and unorganized flow, the numbers of migrants are difficult to estimate. However, from previous experiences in 2018, 2019, 2020, and the most recent January 2021, GRC Migration Program estimates that the influx on the migration routes would double or triple for the expected caravan. GRC has activated 8 Humanitarian Service Points (HSP).

It is expected that the same access points of previous caravans will be the same for this potential caravan, that is, through the borders of Agua Caliente and El Florido, in the department of Chiquimula, and the border of El Cinchao, in the department of Izabal. And the access points to Mexico would be the communities of La Técnica and El Ceibo, in the department of Petén, and Tecún Umán, department of San Marcos. In addition to the regular access identified, there are eleven unofficial access points known as "blind spots", for these reasons, it is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance through mobile HSP.

Among the various risks that people may face during the migratory route are violence, sexual exploitation, extortion, kidnapping, and the risk of stigmatization and discrimination. For example, some migrants are stigmatized as COVID-19 positive.

During the last January 2021 caravan, the IGM registered the return of 3,962 people, among them 65 children and adolescents, including unaccompanied and separated, 8 asylum seekers and 6 permits extended for reasons of humanitarian need. GRC, to be ready to respond and in compliance with its humanitarian work, has activated its staff and volunteers to respond and has prepared this action plan to provide critical humanitarian assistance to all persons in need, regardless of their legal status.