Hurricanes Eta and Iota have affected 6 million people and displaced 590,000 in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Millions remain in urgent need of shelter, health, food, and WASH assistance. Damages to agricultural assets and roads have caused livelihood and market disruptions. The hurricanes hit Central America during the peak of the agricultural labour season, when the majority of poor and very poor households earn most of their annual income. 216,000 hectares of crops were damaged in Honduras alone. 3.5 million people across Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua are estimated to be facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity, with an expected peak of 4 million in August 2021. The hurricanes have aggravated the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in the region and pre-existing vulnerabilities linked to chronic violence and poverty, which have driven migration in the past. A caravan of Hondurans was stopped at the border with Guatemala on 9 December.
On 11 December, armed men attacked the Government Science Secondary School for boys in Kankara (Katsina state, northwest Nigeria) and kidnapped an unknown number of students, most of whom are still missing. The attack has been claimed by Boko Haram, who usually operates in northeastern states. All secondary schools in Katsina state have been closed, followed by school closures in Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, and Jigawa states. Attacks targeting students and schools constrain access to education, and highlight the need for secure education facilities and protection for students in the states affected by violence and conflict. In Nigeria, 10.5 million children aged 5–14 years are out of school. The situation in the north of the country is of particular concern, as only 53% of children aged 6–11 years regularly attend primary school.
Venezuelan refugees and migrants are using unofficial border crossings (trochas) and dangerous maritime routes to reach host countries as the crisis in Venezuela continues to deteriorate and borders remain closed because of COVID-19. Around 500 Venezuelans are reaching Colombia daily through trochas, where they are exposed to protection risks from armed groups that control these routes. Recent heavy rainfall has made crossings dangerous on River Táchira, at the Colombia-Venezuela border. Migrants with irregular status in Colombia and other countries face significant barriers to accessing services and social safety nets. COVID-19 lockdown measures and mobility restrictions in host countries have had a detrimental impact on refugees’ and migrants’ capacity to maintain livelihoods and access basic goods and services. Many rely on humanitarian assistance for health, shelter, food, and education needs. These groups are also experiencing increased gender-based violence, mental health needs, and xenophobia since the start of the pandemic.