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Central America: Drought - 2014-2017

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Disaster types

The Dry Corridor in Central America, in particular Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, has been experiencing one of the worst droughts of the last ten years with over 3.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance. (FAO, 29 Jun 2016)

The lack of rain since the middle of 2014 has resulted in the loss of staple grain crops and death of thousands of cattle in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and to a lesser extent in areas of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The most vulnerable population are families of subsistence farmers, labourers and landless farmers, who are characterized by low income, with limited access to land, basic health services and education, and difficulties in obtaining the basic food basket. By the end of 2014, data from governments and assessments carried out by humanitarian actors indicated that about 2.5 million people were at risk of food insecurity. (OCHA, 10 Dec 2014)

The Humanitarian Response Plan for Guatemala and Honduras was officially launched on 13 Jan 2016, targeting 750,000 people and calling for a total of US$101.79 million in funding.

Late February 2016, the IFRC launched a drought emergency appeal for El Salvador seeking 2,257,946 Swiss francs to deliver assistance and support to some 9,020 people (1,804 families). (IFRC, 29 Feb 2016)

By end of June 2016, the impact of the worst El Niño event ever recorded continued to be felt in the Dry Corridor, compounding the damage from two consecutive years of drought. As a result, some 3.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance with 1.6 million moderately or severely food insecure in the hard-hit countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. (FAO, 30 Jun 2016)

After at least four years of low or zero production in the Primera season for farmers in the dry Central American corridor, normal production is expected for 2017. (FEWS, 10 Aug 2017)