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Crisis response summary: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador - Drought

Date added

11 January 2016


In September 2015 three years of declining food security in the Central American ‘DryCorridor’ in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala was exacerbated by an El Nino relateddrought, resulting in an estimated 500,000 people severely food insecure and 1.3 millionpeople moderately food insecure. 

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Due to the fact that low rainfall coincided with the crucialstages of maize production, up to 75% of maize and bean crops were lost, representing ahuge impact on the primera harvest of July / August. In El Salvador and Guatemala thiswas aggravated by La Roya (Coffee Rust) which affected the livelihoods of many smallcoffee growers and day labourers. On 16 September six network members (Plan, ActionAgainst Hunger, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children and Tearfund) alerted the StartFund, noting that rains were not expected in September, therefore predicting a worseningof the situation.

On 1 October, 77.5 hours after the Start Fund alert, £399,963 was awarded to 5 projects(Christian Aid and Oxfam in Honduras, Oxfam and Save the Children in Guatemala, andPlan UK in El Salvador), aiming to address Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL), WASH andNutrition needs. Activities focused on FSL (distribution of food kits, training workshops onagricultural practices and related cash for work activities, food preparation sessions andagroforestry activities), Nutrition (screening, treatment and support of SAM cases) andWASH (distribution of hygiene kits and sanitation awareness raising).

Agencies faced several challenges during implementation. Ironically though this was adrought response, heavy rainfall in October made it hard for Christian Aid distributionsto reach several communities in Honduras (only reachable by a river which had risen toohigh). In Guatemala Oxfam found that different methodologies had to be implementedby their financial institution partner in order to facilitate the cash distribution in differentgeographical departments.

The response reached 25,883 people (53.8% female 46.2 male) with £399,983, 5.1% ofthose who were estimated to be severely food insecure (500,000 people), 1,351 less thanplanned. Aid targeted households based on vulnerability (elderly, single mother headedhouseholds people living with disabilities, families with children younger than 5, andfamilies that had reduced the number of meals per day as a coping strategy) as well asassessing the most food and livelihood insecure households and working with communitiesto identify the most vulnerable households. Children under 18 (39.1%) and people over 50(16.1%) comprised 55.9% of people reached.

Download the Crisis Response Summary