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Latin America & the Caribbean - Monthly Situation Snapshot - As of 01 January 2020

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On 13 November, IOM and UNHCR announced the launch of the 2020 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants across Latin America and the Caribbean. The plan, which will also aid host communities in countries taking in Venezuelans on the move, will focus on health, education, food security, integration, protection, nutrition, shelter, relief items and transport and water, sanitation and hygiene. The plan will also seek to address the social and economic inclusion of migrants and refugees in host countries


The most recent regional food security report from FAO, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and WFP reveals an 18.1 per cent prevalance of undernutrition in the Caribbean, well above the global rate of 10.7 per cent. Agencies are concerned with hunger in the region growing by 4.5 million people since 2014 to reach its highest point in the last decade. The regional undernourishment rate of 6.5 per cent is lower than the global rate of 10.8 per cent. 2018 marks the fourth consecutive year with rising hunger figures. Moderate-to-severe food insecurity is also on the rise, increasing by 32 million people between the 2014-2016 period and the 2016-2018 period.


Latin America and the Caribbean saw 2.9 million dengue cases through epidemiological week (EW) 52. The caseload is the largest in the region’s history, exceeding the previous record year of 2015 by 18 per cent. There are 1,372 deaths and 27,164 severe dengue cases as well. Nicaragua has the most cases in Central America with 179,007, followed by Honduras (107,673) and Guatemala (48,158). Although Brazil leads all countries with more than two million cases, its incidence rate of 1,016.88 cases per 100,000 people trails Nicaragua (2,884.52), Belize (1,878.01) and Honduras (1,216.83).


Since the beginning of November, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago have all experienced heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides. The frequency and scale of the damages vary from country to country. Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru declared states of emergency or disaster in affected areas to expedite response measures. Reported impacts include damages to homes, schools, roads and bridges, closure of schools, search and rescue operations, affected water supply and distribution of relief items. Affected countries have not requested international assistance.


Reports from Mexico and Central America show that 2019 closed out with drastic changes. Central American migrant flow in Mexico fell by 70 per cent in the second half of 2019 under Mexico’s new migration and development plan. Guatemala saw a record number of deported migrants from both Mexico and the United States in 2019, marking a third consecutive year of rising deportations of Guatemalans. These trends can be related to Mexico and the United States enacting stricter migration policies as social and economic conditions in Central American countries continue to deteriorate.


A recent UN-backed report estimates that Bahamas suffered US$2.5 billion in damages, making a reconstruction a multi-year effort that will require major financial assistance. According to IOM, more than 3,000 people have returned to the Abaco Islands, whose population prior to the early September impact of Hurricane Dorian stood at around 14,000. IOM notes that the majority of people returning are men who are gaining employment with recovery operations and debris removal. Health officials reported in December that 80 people in Government-run shelters have tested positive for tuberculosis.

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