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Latin America & the Caribbean: Weekly Situation Update (10-16 February 2020) As of 17 February 2020

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ARGENTINA: NUTRITION & WASH NEEDS

KEY FIGURES

855 UNDERNOURISHED CHILDREN IN THE WICHI INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY

10K CHILDREN UNDER FIVE IN THE WICHI INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY AT RISK OF UNDERNUTRITION

EMERGENCY

The Government declared an emergency in the northern province of Salta following the deaths of eight children under five linked to severe undernutrition in the remote indigenous Wichi community since December 2019.

Provincial health authorities indicate that there are 855 undernourished children, with 27 hospitalized in serious condition and 10,000 in at-risk conditions. According to UNICEF, the infant mortality rate in the Wichi community is 11.8 for every 1,000 newborn children less than a year old, one of the highest in the country.

Authorities attribute the undernutrition to poor access to food, water and health services and deteriorated infrastructure, conditions exacerbated by recurring drought and flooding, high inequality and a significant cultural barrier.

Salta is located on the border with Bolivia and Paraguay - the Wichi community is nomadic and may move across national borders, potentially creating a sub-regional situation across three countries.

The Government and the Argentinian military are currently on the ground providing safe water to hospitals and communities. The UN System in Argentina is supporting province- and national-level authorities.

WFP, UNICEF, PAHO are already in Salta, as well. OCHA deployed support for Coordination and Information Management. WFP and UNICEF are looking into viable food supply alternatives, as many food supplies currently being delivered to affected communities are incompatible with cultural diets and values. IFRC and UNICEF are collecting information for analysis.

FLOODING

Persistent seasonal rainfall in recent days triggered floods in Salta and in the neighbouring province of Tucumán. In Salta, rainfall in excess of 200mm caused rivers to overflow and render roads impassable. Staff from local police, fire brigades and the provincial government are on the ground and coordinating response with affected municipalities.

Municipal authorities report 110 evacuated families from the Wichi community from the Enacore area, as well as 90 more families from other areas. Provincial authorities are delivering food kits, mattresses, bedding, blankets and clothes to affected communities. Municipal staff and fire brigade volunteers are evacuating affected families. Authorities in Salta remain on alert over the high river waterlines

SOUTH AMERICA: FLOODING

KEY FIGURES

2.8K FAMILIES AFFECTED BY FLOODING IN LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
669 PEOPLE AFFECTED BY FLOODS IN HUÁNUCO, PERU
546 FLOOD POINTS REPORTED IN GREATER SÃO PAULO

BOLIVIA

Recent rains in the departments of Beni, Cochabamba, La Paz, Potosí,
Santa Cruz and Tarija (six of Bolivia’s nine departments) caused the overflow of several rivers, leading to floods and mudslides across the country. La Paz authorities report that the floods affected a total of 2,824 families, rendered 651 families homeless and led to eight deaths in their department.

PERU

The National Emergency Operations Centre (COEN) reports flooding in the central Peruvian department of Huánuco, who saw a series of floods in early January 2020, resulting in damage to 236 homes and more than 660 people affected.

In the south-eastern department of Puno, authorities evacuated some 500 people after heavy rains triggered the overflow of local rivers.

BRAZIL

Following recent floods in eastern Brazil that affected more than 68,000 people, areas in São Paulo experienced a month’s worth of rainfall in as little as three hours on 10 February. According to the National Meteorological Institute (INMET), rains in excess of 140mm triggered various overflows, with the Pinheiros River reaching its highest waterline level in 15 years.

The São Paulo Fire Department responded to more than 4,000 calls after 88 landslides and 546 flood points were reported in Greater São Paulo. Authorities closed schools and suspended public transport, while also carrying out rescue and evacuations in affected municipalities. Officials say the flooding displaced 246 people across the state and caused one death, while two people remain missing.

SOUTH AMERICA: DENGUE

KEY FIGURES

4.2K CONFIRMED CASES OF DENGUE REPORTED IN PARAGUAY
2.6K CASES OF DENGUE REPORTED IN THREE PERUVIAN DEPARTMENTS

PARAGUAY

Dengue claimed 16 lives during the week, according to the Ministry of Health, who are investigating another 89 deaths for links to dengue. Since the beginning of 2020, the Ministry has received 85,000 notifications of suspected cases, confirming 4,255, a number they considers historic.

More than three-fourths of cases are in Asunción and the Central department, the most populated areas in the country.
The Ministry notes that other areas in the country are beginning to record a rise in notifications, as well.

PERU

The Ministry of Health declared 90-day health emergencies for the Loreto, Madre de Dios, and San Martín regions due to the 2,628 total dengue cases and 11 deaths reported so far in 2020. Nearly 40 of the reported cases are severe dengue.

The Ministry announced on 11 February that it is allocating a total of US$1,268,000 to the three departments to finance response activities and purchase required supplies.

ECUADOR: VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS & REFUGEES

KEY FIGURES

206K VENEZUELANS HAVE REGISTERED IN ECUADOR CENSUS AS OF 12 FEBRUARY

Ecuador began a census of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in September 2019 as part of a registration process that is required for Venezuelans to receive migratory amnesty and apply for temporary residence.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are approximately 500,000 Venezuelans living in Ecuador, of which 20,000 have been granted humanitarian visas.

With some six weeks to go before the process expires on 31 March, the Ministry of the Interior indicates that 206,000 have registered in the census process as of 12 February.

MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES

KEY FIGURES

45.8% OF MIGRANTS INTERVIEWED REPORT EXPOSURE TO VIOLENCE AS REASON FOR FLEEING
42.5% OF MIGRANTS INTERVIEWED REPORTED VIOLENCE AGAINST FAMILY IN THE LAST TWO YEARS

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) published a report on 11 February detailing the violent conditions that thousands of Central American migrants encounter in their home countries and on their journeys through Mexico towards the United States.

Nearly half (45.8per cent) of migrants and refugees interviewed at MSF health care posts in Mexico report exposure to violence as a key reason for leaving their country. Almost half (42.5per cent) of those interviewed reported the violent death of a relative in the last two years, 16.2per cent had a relative who was forcibly disappeared, and 9.2per cent had a relative kidnapped.
People traveling with children often reported leaving on the grounds of violence (75.8per cent). More than a third of those who report having fled due to violence were initially internally displaced for the same reason.

After fleeing, fifty-seven per cent of interviewees report exposure to some form of violence along the migration route. The 277 cases of sexual violence treated by MSF in Mexico in the first nine months of 2019 were more than double 2018 reports in the same timeframe. Some 39.2 per cent of interviewees were assaulted while in Mexico, while 27.3 per cent were threatened or extorted. MSF notes that actual figures are likely greater than the official statistics due to underreporting.

EL SALVADOR: DROUGHT RESPONSE

KEY FIGURES

11 MUNICIPALITIES IN EL SALVADOR LAUNCHING WFP-SUPPORTED DROUGHT MITIGATION PLANS

Municipal Civil Protection Commissions in 11 municipalities located across the departments of Cabañas, Morazán and San Miguel launched WFP-supported drought mitigation plans on 12 February.

The plans will promote community participation in soil conservation, monitoring river flows and response planning for drought emergencies to ensure that the most vulnerable are able to access basic health and food services. The plans are a result of collaboration between Civil Protection Commissions from each municipality and WFP technical support, with financing from the Korea International Cooperation.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.