EU mobilises further €15.2 million humanitarian support for food safety, epidemics preparedness and support to people in conflict areas in Latin America and Caribbean

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Buenos Aires, Argentina (Dan Gold, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Union has allocated a further €15.2 million in assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean. This support will focus on food assistance in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, support to forcibly displaced Venezuelans and host communities, and essential needs and nutritional support to Haiti. This support package comes in addition to the €88.548 million funding already announced earlier this year and includes an extra €286,000 to support epidemics preparedness in dengue-affected Central American countries.

“The humanitarian situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, notably in Haiti, has been drastically worsening over the last months. It was urgent do address the situation and take action before the year is over. The European Union is therefore stepping up its aid operations in the region, in order to provide assistance to those in need. We are committed to continue supporting the region as long as necessary,” said Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management.

Repeated drought-related crop failures and soaring food prices have created an acute food crisis in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, leading to an increase in the cases of malnutrition. People in need of urgent food assistance are often also victims of organised violence, which is fuelling large-scale forced migration across the region. Out of this additional funding, €5 million will provide immediate short-term, lifesaving assistance to at least 80,000 people in the most affected areas of these countries.

The resurgence of internal conflict and intensification of armed attacks against civilians has increased the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Colombia, causing an increase in internal displacements and an influx of refugees into neighbouring Ecuador. Against this background, Colombia also hosts 1.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants. From this further funding, €5 million will benefit at least 60,000 people affected by conflict. These funds will be implemented with particular attention to conflict areas that are also witnessing the arrival of Venezuelan migrants.

In Haiti acute social unrest linked to the escalating political and economic crisis has paralysed all socio-economic activities in the country, including import. Compounding years of crop losses due to drought and floods, this situation has made food unaffordable for the poorest households. Acute food insecurity is accompanied by growing threats linked to the organised violence that is spreading across the country. Out of the total additional funding, €5 million will cover the essential needs of some 66,000 people in most affected areas. Life-saving nutritional support will also be provided to approximately 5,000 severely malnourished children under 5 years of age.

 Background

The Latin America and Caribbean region – one of the world’s most disaster-prone areas – is home to close to 650 million people. EU humanitarian aid focuses on the populations most affected by natural disasters and man-made crises, including violence and population displacement, and on preparing communities to face multiple hazards.

Central American countries and Mexico are highly exposed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and other natural hazards. Every year, 1.7 million Central Americans require emergency aid on average. In 2019, 4 million people across several countries are affected by severe droughts, which increases food shortages. The EU is also one of the few donors addressing the severe humanitarian consequences of pervasive organised violence in Mexico and Central America’s “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which particularly affects children and women. Since 1994, the EU humanitarian aid has amounted to €165.5 million while aid for disaster preparedness reached €84.6 million.

More than 9 million people have been internally displaced in Colombia since 1985, with more than 490,000 of those reported between 2016 and 2018. There are more than than 7 million people in need (including population affected by the violence, Venezuelan migrants and refugees and Colombian returnees. Since 1994, the EU humanitarian funding has amounted to €252 million.

Due to its vulnerability to natural disasters and high levels of poverty, Haiti has limited capacity to cope with recurring emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and prolonged droughts. Food shortages and malnutrition, disease epidemics, and the humanitarian needs generated by the ongoing migration crisis require sustained humanitarian assistance. Haiti is the largest beneficiary of the EU’s humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with €418 million provided since 1994.

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