What are the needs?
Central America and Mexico are located in one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, particularly exposed to recurrent and severe floods, hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Droughts are also frequent and cause significant losses of crops, livestock and forestry, wiping out livelihoods and threatening the food security of whole populations.
In 2015, below average rainfall during the harvest season, combined with prolonged dry spell, led to crop losses of up to 80-100% in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Current estimates from studies carried out by WFP indicate that 2.5 million people are severely to moderately food insecure in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua due to the combined impact of persisting drought and coffee rust plague as well as previous climatic shocks.
The combination of high exposure to hazards, high levels of poverty and extreme levels of violence are eroding the coping capacities of local population as well as local administrations, leading to recurrent emergency situations. Increasing numbers of people are exposed to hazards due to climate change and rapid urbanisation, therefore making communities and national systems more resilient and reducing their dependence on humanitarian assistance is a priority.
In Central America and Mexico, the impact of pervasive violence on the population is extremely high, leading to death rates similar to open conflict and forced displacements. In 2015, according to available data, El Salvador had the highest death rate in the world with 103 violent deaths per 100 000 people, with 289 000 people internally displaced due to criminal violence and threats.
How are we helping?
Since 1994, the European Commission has allocated €212.8 million in humanitarian aid to Central America and Mexico. Approximately two thirds (€136.2 million) have been used to respond to emergencies: floods, droughts, epidemics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, internal displacements and the humanitarian consequences of organised violence. Over €76.6 million have been invested in preparing vulnerable communities and their institutions to face extreme natural phenomena.
In 2016, the European Commission has released €3 million to support the populations most affected by drought in Guatemala and Honduras; €300 000 to increase knowledge and awareness of the internal displacement crisis in El Salvador, and to strengthen the capacity of state authorities and civil society organisations to provide protection to internally displaced people; €1.9 million to provide access to education and safe learning environments for minors affected by conflict and violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador affected by the humanitarian consequences of the organised violence.
The 2016-2017 Disaster Preparedness Programme, DIPECHO, has also granted some €8.3 million to promote preparatory measures to save lives and livelihoods in disasters, and support the local, regional and national disaster prevention and response institutions to increase their capacity to face emergencies, benefiting 500 000 people in Central America.