CENTRAL AMERICA: RAINY SEASON
3.8M+ PEOPLE AFFECTED BY HEAVY RAINS IN GUATEMALA AS OF 26 SEPTEMBER
The compounding impacts of heavy rains continue to generate a surge in humanitarian needs and increased risks in flood and landslide-prone areas across El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.In recent weeks and months, heavy rains have caused significant damages to housing, infrastructure, agriculture and related livelihoods. The forecast for increased rainfall over the coming days threatens to trigger an even greater accumulation of impacts and unmet needs, requiring a swift response from donors and humanitarian partners to prevent a further deterioration in the situation.
On 23 September, Honduran President Xiomara Castro declared a 90-day national state of emergency in response to relentless rains that continue to batter the country. Between 1 and 26 September, the Honduran Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) reported more than 31,500 people directly affected and at least 12 killed across the country. This is more than triple the 9,000 people affected by different climatic shocks associated with the rainy season between May and August this year. Civil protection authorities have placed the north-western departments of Copán and Santa Bárbara on red alert alongside eight municipalities in the departments of Cortés, Yoro and Atlántida, including areas of the Sula Valley, the country’s agricultural and industrial hub that was devastated by twin storms Eta and Iota in 2020.
While assessments are still ongoing as the rainy season's impacts continue to accumulate, COPECO estimates that yields from nearly 140,000 hectares of crops have been affected and some 11,000 hectares of crops destroyed, potentially exacerbating existing livelihood challenges and food insecurity in a country where 2.6 million people were estimated to face high acute food insecurity (IPC phase 3 or above) between June and August 2022.
In neighbouring Guatemala, civil protection authorities have issued a red alert for nearly 75 municipalities across 12 of the country’s 22 departments amid heavy rainfall. As of 26 September 2022, Guatemala’s Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) reports more than 3.8 million people affected, almost triple the 1.3 million affected as of 14 September 2021, and at least 44 people dead, nearly double the figure reported on 14 September last year.
In El Salvador, on 22 September, authorities put nearly 30 municipalities on red alert as the cumulative impacts of ongoing torrential rains continue to mount. Between 1 and 22 September, the General Directorate of Civil Protection reported 160 landslides and more than 20 floods across the country that left at least 11 people dead.