Central America and Mexico: EU reaffirms support with €18.5 million in humanitarian and development aid

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The EU has announced today at the ‘Solidarity event for forcibly displaced persons and host communities in Central America and Mexico’, that it will allocate €18.5 million in aid. Of this sum, €12 million represents humanitarian funding to Central America, and €6.5 million constitutes development assistance.

€4 million will support addressing the humanitarian consequences of violence, including displacement, and €1 million will help tackle food insecurity, whereas  €3 million will focus on education in emergencies. The remaining €4 million will go to disaster preparedness activities. The development portion of the envelope will support refugees, as part of the response package to the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The EU reaffirms its commitment to support those in Central America and Mexico. This funding will address the most urgent needs of displaced individuals, and also provide emergency support to alleviate food insecurity in the region. It will help to reinforce local capacities of vulnerable communities throughout the Central American region. The EU is ready to stand up and continue our support to those in need.”

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “We are in this together. Ongoing violence and social unrest, and economic hardship aggravated by COVID-19 and hurricanes Eta and Iota has forced families and children to flee their homes in Central America and Mexico. The situation cannot deteriorate further.

Since 1994, the EU has allocated €257.4 million in humanitarian aid to Central America and Mexico. 66% (€171.9 million) of this sum has helped to respond to emergencies such as floods, droughts, epidemics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, internal displacements and the humanitarian consequences of violence. The remaining 34% (€85.5 million) has been invested in preparing vulnerable communities and their institutions to face future disasters.

Background

Today’s event is  hosted by the Government of Spain as Chair of the MIRPS Support Platform (Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework), in collaboration with Guatemala and Costa Rica, with the support of UNHCR and Organisation of American States.

The aim of the event included the mobilisation of support for responses to forced displacement in Central America and Mexico. Participants identified future joint actions to promote a stronger and more coordinated commitment between all concerned actors; taking into account priority areas, gaps, challenges and opportunities related to forced displacement in Central America and Mexico.

Central America and Mexico are regularly exposed to natural hazards requiring emergency aid for around 1.7 million people per year. Climate change and the coronavirus pandemic threaten the food security of vulnerable populations in the Dry Corridor of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. At least 7.7 million people are in need of food assistance.

COVID-19 has also increased the levels of violence, forcing people to flee their countries. More than 1 million people are internally displaced and more than half a million are refugees and asylum seekers.

For 2019-2020, the EU allocated €26.3 million, to respond to different needs across the region: from the coronavirus pandemic to storm Amanda in Guatemala and El Salvador, passing by the Dengue epidemic in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala and the recurrent droughts in the Dry Corridor of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

In December 2020 emergency funding was allocated to respond to impacts of hurricanes Eta and Iota in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.



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