Thematic Report – July 2017 - Americas: Population Movement
Northward population movement to Mexico and the US through South and Central America has steadily increased, with high numbers of migrants and asylum seekers registered across South and Central American countries in 2016. The increase in movement is driven by different phenomena, most prominently, the effects of gang violence in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Large numbers of migrants from Haiti and Cuba have also been observed, along with a smaller, yet significant number of displaced people from overseas countries such as Syria, Bangladesh, and Somalia.
Overall, migrants and displaced persons in the Americas face similar needs of protection, shelter, health, and WASH. According to factors such as area of origin, length of journey or health conditions prior to the journey, the acuteness or extent of needs may vary. They often lack access to services, both due to government policies and fear of deportation. Repressive migration policies along the route and border closures have resulted in people stranded, which further exacerbates needs such as shelter and WASH.
Protection needs are high for migrants due to abuse by gangs, smugglers, and authorities. Violence, SGBV, bribery, human trafficking, and deportations are common.
Shelter needs are high due to a lack of shelter and overcrowding due to limited capacity and a high rate of migrants.
Health needs along the migrant route are high, especially in remote areas such as the Darien Gap on the Colombia-Panama border. Migrants are increasingly taking remote routes to avoid detection, increasing health risks.
WASH is a priority and restricted access may contribute to disease spread. Needs are particularly high in border closure episodes and in overcrowded shelters.