Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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Central America and Mexico

Women are pivotal to disaster risk reduction processes: this community leader coordinates the local response committee during an evacuation drill in Waspam, Nicaragua. © European Union/ECHO/S. Balladares.

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. Fast population growth and rapid urbanisation also increase the poorest communities' vulnerability in the face of disasters.

The region has also large populations living in poverty and in high levels of insecurity in particular in countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Mexico. Collective violence in these countries increasingly leads to forced displacement, confinement, migration and limited access to basic services (notably health care) and shrinking humanitarian access in areas under the control of armed groups.

How are we helping?

Since 1994, the European Commission has allocated €203 million in humanitarian aid to Central America and Mexico. Approximately two thirds (€131 million) have been used to respond to emergencies: floods, droughts, epidemics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, internal displacements and the humanitarian consequences of organised violence. Over €68 million have been invested in preparing vulnerable communities and their institutions to face extreme natural phenomena.

In 2015, the European Commission has released €4 million to support the populations most affected by food insecurity in Guatemala and Honduras; €337 000 to provide access to formal education and safe learning environments for minors affected by conflict and violence in Honduras through the EU Children of Peace initiative; some €11 000 to assist the most affected by the river spill in La Pasion River, Guatemala, in July; and some €59 000 to help the most affected by the massive landslides that hit Santa Catarina Pinula, also in Guatemala, in October.

The 2014-2015 Disaster Preparedness Programme, DIPECHO, has also granted some €11 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.

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