BAHAMAS: HURRICANE DORIAN
Four weeks after Dorian slammed The Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, the Government is shifting efforts from response to recovery. Although response presence is transitioning, partners continue to deliver assistance, as coordinated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) through their Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) in Abaco and Grand Bahama. As of 25 September, humanitarian partners have delivered more than 350,000 meals and 135,000 liters of water, while also providing health and protection services, supply delivery, debris removal, waste management and temporary housing.
CENTRAL AMERICA: DENGUE
Dengue caseloads continue to increase across Central America, with cases at epidemiological week (EW) 38, which runs from 15-21 September, already exceeding 2018 totals in some countries. The outbreak in Honduras already stands as the worst in the country’s history, with nearly one-fifth of cases reported classified as severe dengue and children under 15 accounting for more than half of the 144 deaths reported so far. Although week-to-week case totals are declining, national and international health experts are concerned that seasonal rains and rising temperatures could lead to increased mosquito breeding activity.
MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
Stricter migrant policies in Mexico and the United States have led to reduced numbers of people from Central America making their way towards the US and, conversely, higher numbers of people returned – according to IOM data for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, there were 40.5 per cent more people returned to the three countries between January-July 2019 than the corresponding period in 2018. Migrants and refugees may now face potentially increased vulnerabilities with new agreements looming that may potentially send asylum-seekers to wait for their US asylum procedures in countries many are migrating from.
CENTRAL AMERICA: FOOD SECURITY
Vulnerable families in the Dry Corridor are facing hardships following crop damages to the first harvest season caused by irregular climate patterns and high temperatures in July and August – poorer households were unable to fill their food reserves. Certain parts of Honduras and Nicaragua suffered as much as 85 per cent losses to subsistence crops. According to FEWS Net, there is more optimism for second crop season in Guatemala, as the second rainy season may have potentially made soil conditions more conducive for growth. WFP is supporting government efforts with food assistance and cash-based transfers.
SOUTH AMERICA: VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
With several countries in South America recently enacting changes to visa and entry requirements for Venezuelan migrants and refugees, there is growing concern that illegal border crossings that multiply risks and vulnerabilities will rise correspondingly. The Government of Peru has already deported nearly 1,000 Venezuelan nationals in irregular migratory status in September alone. Ecuador began to register Venezuelans with regular migratory status on 26 September, the first step towards obtaining a humanitarian visa – Ecuadorian authorities expect some 300,000 Venezuelans to benefit from this registration.
SOUTH AMERICA: WILDFIRES
Wildfires continued to rage through South America during September, with Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru all experiencing a spate of fires due to lower humidity, strong winds and longstanding agricultural practices of clearing farm land with fire. Authorities in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, report that fires have consumed at least 3.3 million hectares. The Brazilian Amazon saw a 156,000 fires between January and August, the most recorded since 2010. Paraguay declared a state of emergency on 9 September to mobilize national and local response organizations to fight fires that have thus far claimed more than 241,000 hectares.