• There are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
• Countries in the region are scaling up alert and preparedness, with some declaring health emergencies as a preventive measure
REGIONAL: NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION
Although there are no reports in Latin America and the Caribbean of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, countries in the region are scaling up alert and preparedness measures. Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru are reporting a handful of suspected cases which they are monitoring closely, with some cases already being ruled out.
Health authorities in Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala all report that they are strengthening their epidemiological surveillance. El Salvador is declaring a health emergency and barring incoming travel from China. Although Panama is not reporting any suspected cases, their government also declared a health emergency and assigned $1 million to the Ministry of Health to take preventive measures. Guatemala is also barring the entry of people coming from China and taking extra sanitation measures at all ports of entry in Guatemala.
Honduras is training emergency medical personnel on how to respond to suspected cases. Bolivia isolated four travellers from China for 12 days, despite no evidence of symptoms. Peru is launching an information campaign on the coronavirus. Argentina and Brazil have elevated their level of alert as a precaution.
2.4K MIGRANT DEATHS RECORDED AT THE MEXICO-UNITED STATES BORDER SINCE 2014
MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
Information from the Missing Migrants Project (MMP), collected at the IOM Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, say that the 810 migrant deaths recorded in the Americas is one of the highest migrant death tolls on record since IOM began keeping records in 2014. Since 2014, IOM has recorded more than 3,800 deaths.
With a total of 2,400 deaths since 2014 and rising yearly death tolls, the Mexico- United States border is the deadliest areas for migrants. The 497 deaths recorded in 2019 represent more than half of the migrant deaths in the region. Most deaths were recorded in the waters of the Río Bravo/Rio Grande, which runs between Texas and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila, where 109 people lost their lives in 2019, a 26 per cent increase from the 86 deaths recorded in 2018.
Many people also attempt the crossing through the remote terrain of the Arizona deserts. At least 171 people lost their lives in this part of the border in 2019, a 29 per cent increase over the 133 deaths documented in this area in 2018.
KEY FIGURES 7.7 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE THAT STRUCK BETWEEN CUBA AND JAMAICA ON 28 JANUARY
According to the US Geologic Survey (USGS), a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck between Cuba and Jamaica at a depth of 10km on 28 January at 2:10pm EST. Media reports say that the quake was felt in parts of Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands Disaster Management Agency reported that there were no deaths or injuries.
The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) issued a green alert, indicating that any potential humanitarian impact would be low.
USGS issued a tsunami warning that said tsunami waves were possible within 300km from the epicentre, which includes the Cayman Islands, Cuba and Jamaica. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) reported that 1 meter waves were possible along the coasts of Belize, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and Jamaica.
The PTWC issued a final message at 3:43pm EST saying that the tsunami threat from the earthquake had largely passed.
68K PEOPLE AFFECTED BY FLOODING AND LANDSLIDES IN BRAZIL SINCE 24 JANUARY
400 HOMES AFFECTED BY FLOODING IN SOUTHERN PERU
Heavy rainfall over eastern states triggered flooding and landslides since 24 January, affecting as many as 68,000 people as of 31 January. Authorities report 64 deaths in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo. More than 120 municipalities in Minas Gerais declared a state of emergency after receiving 171mm of rainfall over 24 hours, the most recorded for the area in 110 years. On 30 January, authorities issued orange warnings for heavy rain risk in coming days for Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. National authorities are monitoring developments and leading coordination and financial response.
On 28 January, heavy rains across various districts in the southern department of Arequipa caused flooding that affected more than 400 homes, rendering nearly 40 uninhabitable. The Arequipa Regional Emergency Operations Centre (COER) reports damages to seven health centres and seven schools. Provincial authorities declared 60-day emergencies in 29 districts. The regional government delivered aid supplies and are working to clear debris. The National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI) forecasts more rainfall for the coming week.
Heavy rains in Antofagasta and Atacama caused floods from 27 January. As of 30 January, there is one death, 15 people displaced and more than 30 damaged homes in Atacama and 40 people displaced in Antofagasta. The storms knocked out power for around 800 people. The area is one of Chile’s driest, receiving as little as 15mm of rain each year. The Chilean Meteorological Directorate is warning that further heavy rain could reach that total each day. National authorities declared an emergency for the affected regions and are providing emergency assistance.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.