Five weeks after Eta hit Central America, millions of people continue fighting its devastating consequences. Most of them were hit also by Hurricane Iota. Unprecedented flooding and landslides have left over 9 million people affected, including 3.5 million children, in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Thousands more were also impacted in other parts of Central America and Colombia.
Many families have lost everything they owned and are in urgent need of support. Against this backdrop, the risk of a surge in population movements, including internal displacement and cross-border migration, is latent. There are reports of a migrants’ group (‘caravan’) forming from El Salvador,
Nicaragua and Honduras, including families with children, traveling towards the north of Central America.
Despite access constraints and logistical challenges, UNICEF Country Offices (COs) continue increasing their field presence and scaling up response, through existing and new partnerships.
In Honduras, over 29,000 children have been reached with protection services in shelters and communities, and 123 children suspected to have been separated from their caregivers, have been identified and received support. UNICEF-supported in-kind social transfers have benefited 1,672 families. At least 4,600 people in shelters are being reached through key WASH services supported by UNICEF. Through the UNICEF-led water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Cluster, partners have delivered over 610,000 litres of water and 22,000 hygiene kits.
In Guatemala, over 5,000 children have been reached in Alta Verapaz and Huehuetenango departments with nutrition services, including screening and treatment of acute malnutrition cases. UNICEF will start rehabilitation works in 81 schools, and is preparing to distribute additional 3,000 hygiene kits for affected families. Around 6,000 children have been reached with protection activities in shelters, supported by UNICEF.
In Nicaragua, UNICEF supported training of 50 staff on management and referral of malnutrition cases, and teams are being deployed to conduct visits to families in the most affected communities, for malnutrition screening and treatment. UNICEF delivered 50 kits in shelters, to benefit 2,000 children with psychosocial support and violence prevention activities. Over 100,000 people have been reached through key lifesaving messages in affected communities.
In Belize, UNICEF distributed emergency hygiene/nutrition kits to over 354 families in the worst affected areas, 50 children received immunization services and 35 pregnant women received antenatal care, and 1,920 school back packs were donated as part of the back-to-school campaign, and over 3,000 people have been engaged in risk communication activities.
In Costa Rica, UNICEF’s procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) items and hygiene kits for frontline workers and most affected families, is ongoing; targeting over 2,000 children.
UNICEF continues advocating for flexible funding to boost the response across all sectors, in the most affected countries. By the time of this report, UNICEF has received US$2.8 million from public partners against the US$42.6 million appeal, leaving a funding gap of US$39.7 million (93 per cent of the appeal).