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UNHCR North of Central America Situation Fact Sheet June 2020

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Around 470,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from the North of Central America in the world and 318,590 internally displaced people in Honduras and El Salvador.

NCA has seen an exponential increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic, while two tropical storms affected more than 500,000 persons, including seven communities affected by forced displacement and violence.

UNHCR and partners continue to assist persons of concern and support governments in the overall response, including through CBI, technical assistance, equipment, medical and biosafety supplies.

CONTEXT

The COVID-19 pandemic and the hurricane season have worsened many challenges in NCA, particularly for people in need of protection. Across the NCA, gang violence, gender-based violence and human rights abuses continue unabated, while restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of the pandemic have limited possibilities to seek protection from persecution for those in need. Due to the increase in infections, vulnerability among displaced populations has worsened since the majority of them are part of the informal economy.

More widely, the World Bank predicts a shrink by 3.6% of the economy this year in Central America, while ECLAC foresees that 20 million and 7 million people will fall into poverty and extreme poverty, respectively. Remittances to the region, a vital lifeline for many, are expected to fall by 20% over the course of the year. All these will inevitably compound ‘push’ factors and impact the ability of countries to ensure the social and economic inclusion of forcibly displaced people once restrictions are lifted.

UNHCR continues to provide support to governments and people of concern in collaboration with partners to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19. With the expansion of cash-based interventions, the UN Refugee Agency is addressing the most pressing immediate needs, while maintaining protection and advocacy interventions at all levels.
UNHCR continues to provide secretariat assistance the MIRPS, which provides a strong state led approach to manage forced displacement, and furthers actions to leverage support for MIRPS. This includes providing the necessary technical assistance to enhance actions through the Support Platform, currently led by Spain.