Guatemala + 6 more

Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) Building resilience in drought-affected communities in Central and South America (ECHO/-AM/BUD/2013/91000) - Last update: 26/09/2012 Version 1

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The activities proposed hereafter are still subject to the adoption of the financing decision ECHO/WWD/BUD/2013/01000

  1. CONTEXT

The Latin American region is considered one of the most disaster prone regions in the world, in terms of recurrence of hazards, their severity and scope and the significant potential for major disasters. Many Latin American countries are exposed to a wide range of hazards almost every year, such as floods, landslides, earthquakes and droughts producing human and financial losses.

In the last five years, changes in weather patterns are being reported consistently in the Americas. Recurrent droughts have increased vulnerability in many countries in the region. Reduction of rainy days and lower volumes of rainfall result in increasing rain deficits, and changing weather patterns have a devastating impact on human food security particularly for populations living in areas such as the Chaco (covering parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay), and in the "dry corridor" in Central America (covering parts of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua).

In recent years droughts have affected areas which are already very vulnerable due to pre-existing conditions such as weak management of resources including water, high food insecurity and presenting seasonal peaks of under nutrition, leading to a need for humanitarian assistance. The recurrence of these events further deteriorates and erodes people's livelihoods and coping mechanisms. Their resilience is, hence, low.

In Bolivia and Paraguay, the Chaco area is facing an abnormally harsh situation linked primarily to the consequences of cumulative droughts during recent years, manifesting itself most immediately as an acute livelihoods crisis. It is a region with high levels of dependency on rain-fed subsistence farming with a high proportion of indigenous communities, whose lives and livelihoods are further undermined by each subsequent drought. From 2007 to 2010 below average rainfall produced significant food production losses resulting in a food security crisis in 2010.

In Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, the 2009-2010 drought affected 8.5 million people, especially in the area called the "dry-corridor". This drought followed several years of below normal precipitation levels in the area and already existing high chronic malnutrition rates which reached levels of more than 50% of all children under 5 years, and more than 70% among indigenous children (in Guatemala, the LAC country with the highest rates of chronic malnutrition).

La Niña climate phenomenon weakened during the first semester of 2012 leading to a transition to ENSO1-neutral conditions during May-July, and a subsequent likelihood of transition to El Niño at the end of 2012. Scientific institutions forecast that for 2012-2013 El Niño phenomena may trigger an aggravation of the situation and make it necessary to provide additional assistance2. Meteorological services in Central America forecast irregular rains and deficits in some areas from June to October 2012, which could affect the development of primary crops in the region. This, combined with El Niño, could jeopardize food security during 2012-2013.

Considering the increasing predictability of drought in these areas and its impact on food security, DG ECHO decided in 2011 to fund a specific intervention aiming at building local capacities to sustainably manage droughts, to foster food and nutrition security and thereby build resilience.

In order to complete the achievements of the 2011-2012 interventions, there is a need for a second and last phase to consolidate the achievements of the first phase, foster the transition to more resilient communities, further expand the evidence-based advocacy strategy, and to achieve handover and exit strategies.