ACT Alliance Alert: Drought in the Central American region

by Elisabeth Gouel | | ACT Alliance - Switzerland
Friday, 29 August 2014 15:55 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua

Drought in the Central American region

Geneva, 29 August 2014

1.    Brief description of the emergency and impact

A drought associated with "El Niño" phenomenon has caused severe impacts in Central America, where it has damaged a large part of the corn and bean crops.

In El Salvador, the government has declared a national state of emergency. Up to 30% of the annual corn harvest has been lost and 90% of the annual bean crop was lost. An estimated 100,000 families have been affected and 25,000 face critical conditions of food insecurity (according to WFP calculations).

In Honduras, the government has declared a state of emergency in the dry corridor. The greatest impacts are located in 64 municipalities across 10 departments, affecting an estimated 76,712 families. 25,000 families in the Departments of La Paz, Francisco Morazán, El Paraíso, Choluteca, and Valle will suffer the worst consequence (FAO).

In Nicaragua, the Departments of Estelí, Madríz, Chinandega, and Nueva Segovia have been the ones hit hardest. Nearly 75% of the first corn crop has been lost. An estimated 100,000 families have been most affected in 65 municipalities.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)  calculates that losses in subsistence agriculture in the most-affected areas of the region reach up to 70%. This means severe difficulties in access to agriculture inputs and food. The Central American Forum on Climate projects lower-than-normal rain levels for the period of September – October 2014. This will expand and deepen food insecurity at the regional level.

2.    Why is an ACT response needed?

The magnitude of the crisis has exceeded the capacity of the governments of the region and further support is needed. The drought has impacted the communities with whom the forum members work in the region; and these communities have requested support to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

3.    National and international response

International organizations are planning their interventions at this time. The Government of El Salvador will provide 63,000 aid packages of corn seeds, 10,000 aid packages of sorghum seed, and an additional 95,000 sacks of fertilizer in the 10 most severely-affected departments. The Government of Honduras will provide seeds for a late short-cycle (postrera) harvest, along with food aid. The Government of Nicaragua, with support from the WFP, is distributing 46,000 aid packages of a one-month food supply.  

4.    ACT Alliance response

The ACT forums in the 3 countries have supported the process of gathering information in the areas affected, and have participated in meetings with the government and other organizations to coordinate actions. An ACT appeal is envisaged which will be administered and coordinated by LWF in El Salvador, including work in the 3 countries involved: Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua

5.    Planned activities

The humanitarian response will include: food aid, water harvesting, and reactivating agricultural production, in the 3 countries.

6.    Constraints

Security issues in Honduras and in El Salvador as the response will be carried out in areas located in the drug-trafficking corridor and gangs areas.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (