Humanitarian assistance and Civil Protection with a focus on Central America and Mexico
EU humanitarian funding supports projects providing protection support to displaced people across Central America, to children and families in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica affected by violence. In 2023, the EU allocated €11 million in humanitarian aid to Central America and Mexico.
In Central America and Mexico, droughts, hurricanes, COVID-19, violence, displacement, political instability and the impact of the war on Ukraine have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.
The UN estimates that 9.3 million people (1 in 3) require humanitarian assistance, 1 million more than in 2022 and 80 % more than in 2020. Violence and social unrest pushed 1 million people into forced displacement and over 600,000 have become refugees and asylum-seekers.
In 2022, over 250,000 people crossed the Darien Gap, one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes between Colombia and Panama. A record-breaking 2.4 million people were apprehended at the US-Mexican border.
What are the needs?
According to the UN, around 868,000 people in El Salvador, 700,000 in Nicaragua, 4.6 million in Guatemala and 2.6 million in Honduras are food insecure, with steadily decreasing coping capacities.
Widespread violence has triggered humanitarian and protection needs similar, in nature and scale, to those in conflict areas. The consequences include (i) forced displacement, (ii) movement restrictions or confinement, (iii) sexual and gender-based violence, (iv) child forced recruitment, (v) extortion, and (vi) rising barriers to accessing essential services and livelihoods.
The state of emergency issued in 2022 by the government of El Salvador and Honduras hampers humanitarian access, aggravating the already precarious situation of vulnerable communities.
In Nicaragua, the government’s repression continues while the humanitarian space shrinks, forcing people to leave. The country has one of the world’s largest number of newly displaced people. Most of them fled to Costa Rica, which has become one of the world’s largest recipient of asylum seekers.
Vulnerable people require humanitarian assistance for basic needs such as (i) health, (ii) food, (iii) water and sanitation, (iv) shelter, (v) education, (vi) safety, (vii) protection, and (viii) recovery of resources. Asylum seekers often have limited access to services and employment, are exposed to xenophobia and discrimination, and require legal assistance.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU allocated €11 million in humanitarian aid to Central America and Mexico. Since 1994, we have mobilised €322 million to support humanitarian actions in the region.
This funding helped respond to emergencies such as (i) floods, (ii) droughts, (iii) hurricanes, (iv) epidemics, (v) earthquakes, (vi) volcanic eruptions, (vii) population displacement, and (viii) violence. In addition, it also helped vulnerable communities build resilience to face future disasters.
Since 2020, the EU has allocated more than €76 million to strengthen disaster preparedness for a better and timely response and to respond to different humanitarian crises:
- recurrent droughts in the Dry Corridor of Central America
- the dengue epidemic in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
- tropical storms Amanda in Guatemala and El Salvador
- the devastating hurricanes Eta and Iota in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
- flooding caused by tropical storm Julia
- forced displacement and mixed migration from Panama to Mexico.
EU humanitarian funding supports projects providing protection support to displaced people across Central America, to children and families in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica affected by violence. We also support those affected by Nicaragua’s civil unrest, both inside and outside the country.
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