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Honduras: Population Movement Emergency Plan of Action DREF Operation n° MDRHN014

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the situation

Through coordination platforms and several reports in unofficial media and communication from the Guatemalan Institute of Migration, the Honduran Red Cross (HRC) has received reports of a new caravan of Honduran migrants expected to leave for Guatemala heading towards Mexico and the United States at the end of July (between 25-31). The new caravan is composed mainly of Hondurans and migrants from other Central American countries, South America, Haiti and Cuba, many of whom are already temporarily settled in southern Honduras, currently living complex situations that drive them to take the migratory route.

Previous experiences with caravans have shown that this mobilization could integrate family units, including children and adolescents (NNA). NNA exposed to harsh conditions can face several vulnerabilities. Several circumstances may affect the health and safety of migrants, such as the rainy season, the health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the risks inherent to the migratory route. Although the number of people in the caravan is unpredictable, social networks indicate a minimum of 12,000 Honduran migrants and 2,000 in transit. As has happened in previous caravans - especially the one in January 2021 with 7,500 people - it is expected that there will be an early return from Guatemala due to the government's provisions. According to the National Migration Institute, the first caravan of January 2021 had a return rate of 1,802 people (30%) on the first day, of which 1,279 are adults and 523 minors. Of these, 51 were traveling alone. It is assumed that the caravan scheduled for the end of July advances. An almost immediate return of more than 6,000 people could be expected (an estimated 50%), either a voluntary return or through deportation processes. This will require the Honduran Red Cross (HRC) to be prepared to provide similar care to those of the departure. For that purpose, the NS is designing a care plan based on the return scenario.

As in previous cases, the border crossing points that will be used are unknown, so an alert has been given to the borders of Agua Caliente (Ocotepeque), El Florido (Copán Ruinas), and Corinto (Cortés). Without ruling out the possibility of using the so-called "blind spots", which refer to other border areas that are not officially identified and are difficult to access for the National Society.

Due to this, HRC has alerted the Councils (branches) located on these three routes: San Pedro Sula, Choloma, Puerto Cortes, and Omoa en route to the Integrated Border Point (IBP) of Corinto; Quimistan La Entrada and Santa Rosa de Copán near the Agua Caliente IBP; adding to these last ones the Council of Copán Ruinas, in the IBP of El Florido, this alert is made, because the previous caravans did not leave through the border point used by the first ones (Agua Caliente), and the decision is taken at the moment of departure; one of the previous caravans used three integrated border posts: Aguas Calientes, El Florido and Corinto, and they also used blind spots. In addition to alerting, it is necessary to strengthen the teams that participate in the Humanitarian Service Points (HSP) to provide integral services to the different needs that could arise in this new scenario.

More than six months after the impact of Hurricane Eta and Iota, the affected Honduran population continues to be vulnerable, as evidenced by the damage to the road, educational, agro-industrial, and housing infrastructure, as well as livelihoods, circumstances that limit access to goods and services that contribute to maintaining a decent standard of living for this excluded population, as well as to having safety equipment that reduces the risk of infection by COVID-19 and allow them to maintain personal and family biosecurity measures. This has increased significantly for returnees from previous caravans.

The preparation of the countries on the route to attend this potential caravan is necessary for the reception of migrants and for the application of the related national policies and laws that conclude in return, as officially indicated by the Guatemalan state, which will act by the legislation in force, promoting a regular, orderly, and safe migration.