In 2019, the humanitarian situation that has generated the greatest concern in Latin America is surely the socio-economic situation affecting Venezuela, where an estimated 7 million people need humanitarian attention, of whom 2.6 million have been prioritized in the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019, which has been widely under-financed. In fact, the biggest constraint on the provision of humanitarian assistance in the country is still funding, according to the United Nations.
Added to this is the growing flow of people leaving the country (4.5 million estimated for 2019 and 6.5 by 2020) and who are seeking refuge in the countries of the region, mainly Colombia and Peru, where the urgency of the humanitarian response for migrants and refugees is now added to the structural deficiencies of access to services and rights of the local population of the border areas and the most depressed urban areas. The great effort of all countries in the region to welcome migrants and join forces for the humanitarian response and integration of migrants, has been formalized in a number of regional initiatives, such as the establishment of a coordination platform and a Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants (RMRP, in its Spanish acronym) which by 2019 had prioritized the care of 2.2 million migrants and refugees, but also in this case funding has been low (48%).
On the other hand, the humanitarian situation in Haiti (the poorest country in the region) remains dire: there are 1.2 million at risk of famine, and in some communities more than 30% of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition. In Central America, violence and poverty drive thousands of people to go the United States, but the tightening of migration and transit conditions is causing situations of extreme vulnerability and humanitarian need that tend to be poorly addressed and have little visibility. Added to this is the exposure to natural disasters (one-third of the region’s population lives in high-risk areas) and the recurrence of phenomena such as droughts in the Dry Corridor, which puts thousands of people at risk each year.
These humanitarian crises unfold in a regional context where living conditions continue to worsen: in 2019 the number of people in poverty and extreme poverty increases (estimates project 27 million more poor people than in 2014), and there is increasing hunger (6.5%) and food insecurity, which affects 188 million people.
Given this contextual situation, we have had a significant increase in our operations in the region: in 2019 we have reached 435,371 people, we have increased our geographical presence in all countries and we have started working in large cities such as Lima and Bogota, and we have also integrated health, protection and prevention of gender-based violence in most of our interventions. Financially, in Central and South America our growth between 2018 and 2019 has been of 183%, and this trend is growing by 2020 (+207%). This increased capacity to meet the needs of the population is possible thanks to the trust provided by local actors and international stakeholders and the great commitment and professionalism of our team in the region.