The Latin America and Caribbean region faces concurrent crises, compounded by COVID-19, with millions of people in need of assistance. The effects of the pandemic continue to affect millions of children and their families, leaving many of them relying on humanitarian support.
In the 15 countries and territories included in this appeal, UNICEF will support the most vulnerable children, families and communities, affected by the health and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. 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$29.1 million to address COVID-19-related humanitarian needs at the country level (US$21.7 million) and to support overall emergency preparedness and response across the region (US$7.4 million). Priorities include the safe return of children to school, infection prevention and control, and support for the continuity of basic services.
Rapid-onset and protracted situations are impacting the well-being of millions of children across Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2021, the region faced concurrent crises, compounded by COVID-19, including the socioeconomic and political situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (over 7 million people in need); the Venezuelan migration crisis (7.2 million people in need); the effects of an earthquake and the economic, social and political crisis affecting Haiti (4.4 million people in need); at least 8.3 million people in need of assistance in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras due to poverty, violence and climate shocks; the persistent violence and other situations leaving 6.7 million people in need in Colombia, and over 20,000 people affected by a volcano eruption in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, among other emergencies.
Between January and September 2021, over 1.9 million people, including some 624,000 children, were affected by mid- and large-scale disasters in 22 countries and territories. Thousands are still struggling to thrive after these disasters hit the region, in addition to the devastation caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020, in parts of Nicaragua and other countries.
In a region where 169 million children live in areas where at least two climate and environmental shocks overlap, and as the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters increases, the consequences for children may be disastrous. With at least 4.2 million children facing crisis-levels of food insecurity in Haiti and Central America, and approximately 47 million people in the region living with hunger, the consequences for the nutrition, health and well-being of millions of children are concerning.
Poverty, inequality, socio-political turmoil, paired with the long-term effects of the pandemic, have led to internal displacement and cross-border migration throughout the region, exacerbated protection risks including gender-based violence, resulting in humanitarian needs among the most vulnerable, including migrants and indigenous communities.