Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Recurrent climate shocks such as drought and flooding have affected the food security of millions in Central America
  • Areas in eastern and central Guatemala reported as many as 50 consecutive days without rain
  • Approximately seven per cent of households in El Salvador have gone at least 1 day without food
  • Some 25 per cent of households in Honduras are applying emergency coping strategies, including selling assets and migrating
  • Roughly seven out of 10 families in Nicaragua have at least one family member that has emigrated in search of better opportunities
Guatemalan farmer
Guatemalan farmer shows the effects of prolonged drought on his corn harvest. Photo: WFP/Francisco Fion

URL:

Downloaded:

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report

Key Figures

3M
food insecure people (Guatemala)
850K
food insecure people (Honduras)
210K
food insecure people (El Salvador)
200K
food insecure people (Nicaragua)

URL:

Downloaded:

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report

Funding

No funding data available.

URL:

Downloaded:

Contacts

Rein Paulsen

Head of Office, OCHA ROLAC

Brenda Eriksen

Information Management Officer

Marc Belanger

Reports Officer

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report
Background
MAPA CENTRAL AMERICA CLIMATE SHOCKS (edit MB)-01
Departments in Central America affected by recurrent climate shcoks (as of October 2018)

Impact of Recurrent Climate Shocks

Over the past six years, the Dry Corridor of Central America has been repeatedly affected by recurring dry spells and torrential rains that have disrupted food production in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

During the months of July and August 2018, the first crop season, commonly referred to as the primera, was affected by severe drought that caused some areas in Central America to experience more than 50 consecutive days without rain. In October 2018, remnants from Tropical Storm Isaac in the Caribbean caused heavy rainfall over Central America, which negatively affected the second crop season (postrera).

As a result, approximately 282,000 hectares of maize and beans were lost, affecting mainly subsistence farmers and salaried agricultural workers, while also placing millions in the region in a state of moderate-to-severe food insecurity.

Between November and December 2018, WFP and partners, with the support of host Governments, conducted Emergency Food Security Assessments (EFSAs) in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. On average, more than 25 per cent of households interviewed were severely or moderately food insecure, with a peak at nearly 38 per cent in Guatemala.

The deterioration of living conditions, coupled with a 65 per cent probability of a weak El Niño phenomenon affecting the region during June-August 2019, is likely to have a major impact on the already high migratory flow coming out of these Central American countries.

At present, a weak El Niño persisted through early March, causing irregular rainfall and temperatures that would have a potentially damaging effect on the first harvest season and the second seeding season on subsistence farming grains in the Dry Corridor.

Per FEWS NET, subsistence farming families are in Integrated Phase Classification (ICP) Phase 2 (stressed) food security due to the deterioration of their livelihoods, recurring loss of harvests, employment reduction and rising prices of basic goods. Poorer households in isolated communities might find themselves in ICP Phase 3 (crisis) acute food insecurity.

Food and cash assistance are required in the short term to help severely and moderately food insecure families meet their basic food requirements and prevent asset depletion. Immediate assistance needs to be linked with medium-to-long term solutions such as resilience programming in rural areas, and shock responsive and adaptive social protection to mitigate the social and economic impact of the drought on deprived and marginalized communities.

URL:

Downloaded:

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report
Analysis

Guatemala

The Ministry of Agriculture reports 180,000 hectares of staple crops damaged in 20 of 22 departments. WFP and partners estimate that some 3 million people are food insecure (either moderate or severe), with 460,000 severely food insecure and in need of assistance.

Per the EFSA in Guatemala, some 80 per cent of interviewed households engaged in daily labour activities are dedicated to the production of basic grains and coffee.

More than 37 per cent were food insecure, including 32 per cent in moderate food insecurity and 5 per cent as severely food insecure. Some 18 per cent of households reported spending more than 75 per cent of income on food, while 26 per cent spend 65-75 per cent.

The EFSA also found an average of chronic undernourishment of 53.2 per cent, with up to 60 per cent in the 36-47 month age range. At least 19 per cent of children are showing severe growth delays.

Acute undernourishment is at 2 per cent, three times higher than the national average shown in a 2014-2015 survey on maternal and newborn health. The most affected age range was infants 12-23 months old, with 3.5 per cent undernourishment, at least five times higher than the national average.

URL:

Downloaded:

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report
Analysis

El Salvador

In October 2018, WFP, FAO and UNICEF, in coordination with the National Food Security and Nutrition Council (CONASAN) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, carried out an EFSA.

Results showed that 98,783 subsistence farming households (493,915 people) were affected by the drought, of which 85 per cent depend on agricultural activity. Some 42,000 households (approx. 210,000 people) are food insecure as of January 2019, when their food reserves were projected to be depleted.

Acute malnutrition affects 2.4 per cent of children under the age of five, and 17 per cent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. This is well above national average of 2.1 per cent and 14 per cent respectively. Single-parent households, a high rate of dependency and limited access to safe drinking water are important and latent determinants of vulnerability.

Commonly used crisis strategies used include reducing health and education expenses, consuming future seed reserves, reducing agricultural and/or livestock expenses, selling their house or leaving the place of residence. Asset depletion will severely hinder the capacity of affected households to rebound after the crisis.

URL:

Downloaded:

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report
Analysis

Honduras

Preliminary WFP and FAO estimates suggest that more than 850,000 (9.4 per cent of the population) are affected by moderate-to-severe food insecurity, with 327,000 in need of assistance.

Critical needs include food supplies, medical attention, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, and strengthening capacity for recovery and resilience.

According to the EFSA for Honduras, more than 75 per cent of households had limited food reserves and a quarter of the population of smallholder farmers and day laborers living in the dry corridor (103,000 households) were severely and moderately food insecure. For 74 per cent of households, food comprises more than 65 per cent of their total expenses.

Eight per cent of households reported that at least one family member has migrated and more than 78 per cent of this migrant population were looking for employment opportunities due to drought and food insecurity.

If 38 per cent of households are resorting to such coping strategies, they very likely have been recurring to them for some time and assets are being exhausted.

URL:

Downloaded:

Latin America & the Caribbean

Situation Report
Analysis

Nicaragua

WFP estimates that 200,000 people could be at risk of food insecurity. The analysis, elaborated with the support of key interviewees and secondary data, was conducted by WFP in November 2018.

According to the main findings, Nicaragua has suffered from severe dry weather condition since April 2018, which caused severe crop losses, mostly of maize, during the primera season. Additional losses were reported during the postrera due to the excess of rainfall and high presence of crop plagues and diseases.

Altogether, this has compromised the farmers’ ability to produce the quantities required to meet their food needs during the upcoming months.

This situation coupled with an already deteriorated economic situation, due to the ongoing crisis. To complement the results of the assessments, FEWSNET recently reported that the majority of vulnerable households, in central and northern Nicaragua are likely to be in food insecurity stress (Phase 2, CIF), from November 2018 to January 2019.

URL:

Downloaded: