Before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Latin America and the Caribbean region was facing concurrent humanitarian crises, with 23 million people in need of assistance.
The pandemic has led to rising unemployment and other impacts that could push millions into poverty, many of whom will rely on humanitarian assistance to survive.
In 21 countries and territories, UNICEF will protect the most vulnerable children, families and communities from exposure to COVID-19 and its impacts. At the regional level, UNICEF will provide technical assistance to country offices, building preparedness capacities at all levels and ensuring linkages between humanitarian and resilience efforts.
UNICEF is requesting US$48.9 million to address COVID-19-related humanitarian needs (US$36.5 million) and support overall emergency preparedness and response (US$12.4 million). Priorities include the safe return to school; the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services; and support for health systems. Seventeen independent states and four territories are directly covered by this regional appeal.
Protracted crises and rapid-onset emergencies, compounded by COVID-19, are impacting the well-being of millions of children across Latin America and the Caribbean.Prior to the pandemic, the region was already facing concurrent crises, including the socio-economic and political situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (7 million people in need of assistance);the Venezuelan migration crisis (6.2 million people in need of support); 12the economic, social and political crisis in Haiti (5.1 million people in need);and at least 5.2 million people in need of assistance in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras due to poverty, climate shocks and violence.Between January and August 2020, over 733,000 people, including some 258,000 children, were affected by mid-/large-scale disasters in 13 countries,including the first tropical storms of the Caribbean hurricane season. Furthermore, 47.7 million people in the region live with hungerand 2.6 million children are facing crisis levels of food insecurity in Haiti and Central America.Nearly 21 million people lack access to basic drinking water and 83 million lack access to basic sanitation.Prior to COVID-19, 12 million children and adolescents were out of the education system.COVID-19 has exacerbated these ongoing situations, leading to greater needs and undermining national and local capacities. Due to border closures, some people are displaced within their countries, while many others have migrated through irregular borders. Thousands have been stranded in host countries, and are facing limited access to basic services and xenophobia. In a region with 14 countries among the 25 countries with the highest femicide rates globally,and where one out of two children under 15 years is subject to corporal punishment at home,pre-existing gender inequalities and gender-based violence trends, coupled with confinement, have led to increased violence against children and women. 20