Migrant Caravan and increased child migration in the north of Central America and Mexico Humanitarian Situation Report, October - November 2018

from UN Children's Fund
Published on 30 Nov 2018


• Since 13 October 2018, an estimated 16,000 migrants, largely from Honduras and El Salvador, have transited through Guatemala.

• The Government of Mexico has officially reported the presence of some 8,000 migrants in its territory. As of 28 November, at least 6,067 migrants, including 1,058 children, had arrived in Tijuana (Baja California state), on the border with the United States. In Mexicali there are about 1,200 migrants settled, and around 300 are estimated to still be on the move heading north in Mexico.

• Given the challenging conditions at the initial shelter in Tijuana, Deportivo Benito Juarez, a new bigger shelter (El Barretal) was opened on 29 November, 30 minutes away from the first one

• UNICEF Mexico continues with presence at both borders (south and north), and monitoring the situation of the 270 migrants still in Mexico City.

• In Honduras, the national child protection agency reports that 3,178 minors have returned from Guatemala and Mexico between 15 October and 28 November, at least 765 of which were unaccompanied.

• UNICEF continues monitoring the situation in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and efforts are focused on supporting authorities for proper case management of returnees, ensuring their access to necessary services and identification of protection needs.


Approx. No. of people part of the Caravans, in Mexico as of 25 November.
(Source: Mexico Ministry of Interior)

Approx. No. of people that had arrived in Tijuana (United States border), as of 28 November, including:

Approx. No. of children that had arrived in Tijuana (United States border), as of 28 November.
(Source: Tjuana Migration authorities)

Approx. No. of children and under-21 youth who have returned to Honduras from Guatemala and Mexico, including

Unaccompanied children
(Source: DINAF, as of 28 November

UNICEF Immediate funding needs
US$ 2,675,000

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Since 13 October 2018, an estimated 16,000 migrants have transited through Guatemala. The Government of Mexico has officially reported that some 8,000 migrants are in its territory. The so-called migrant caravans have been largely made up of Honduras and El Salvador nationals,fleeing from violence, extortion and poverty in their home countries. Thousands or children are part of the caravans, and UNICEF’s response is dedicated to their immediate protection and basic needs.

The main needs of children and families on the move range from access to information on their rights and protection services including asylum and other modalities of granting people with protection needs permission to remain in country, medical attention and first aid, food, access to drinking water, sanitation facilities and personal items like clothing and hygiene kits, while supporting the determination of the child’s best interest.

At least four large Caravan groups have been identified while small groups were also reported, crossing through Guatemala into Mexico. According to the Mexican Ministry of Interior, as of 25 November, at least 8,247 people were still part of the Caravans in Mexico, most of them (7,417) in Baja California state (Tijuana and Mexicali).

Throughout their journey, the Caravan groups have been temporarily sheltered at different locations in Mexico City with peaks of nearly 6,000 people at 'El Palillo' shelter. By the beginning of December, a group of around 270 people - including at least 34 children - were still in Mexico City at 'Faro de Tláhuac' -a cultural centre used as shelter, where basic services have been provided by authorities.

Tapachula (Mexico, Chiapas state), on the Guatemalan border, has been another transit location for the Caravans. While most of the migrants stayed for a few days in Tapachula before continuing their journey, a large group has decided to seek asylum in Mexico and have been accommodated in shelters and received cash transfer support from UNHCR.

While crossing Guatemala, most of the Caravan groups rested at migrant centres (Casa del Migrante) in Guatemala City and Tecún Umán - on the Guatemala / Mexico border. With the sudden flows, the situation at the Tecún Umán became further aggravated since 28 October when the border was closed (for few days) and security was reinforced at both sides of the border, a Honduran migrant died during riots that emerged on the Guatemalan side. Since the first week of November, flows stabilized at the Tecún Umán border with an average of 150 to 200 people crossing the border on a daily basis.

As there are no reports of new Caravan groups leaving Honduras, the focus by local authorities and partners is now on the reception of returnees and deported. National authorities report that 3,178 minors have returned from Guatemala and Mexico between 15 October and 28 November, at least 765 of which were unaccompanied. These figures bring the total number of children returning to Honduras from Mexico, Guatemala and the United States up to 10,590 since January 2018. Migratory personnel at the western borders (Agua Caliente, Florido) report that more and more Hondurans and international migrants are crossing the border at blind spots, including river crossings some kilometres off the Agua Caliente border, forcing authorities to spread out and install more checkpoints.

In El Salvador, from where at least 2,400 people left to join the Caravans, it has been reported that part of the group is returning with support from the Salvadoran consulate in Guatemala, while others are being deported from Mexico.