MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
3.5K MIGRANTS CROSSED INTO GUATEMALA BETWEEN 15-16 JANUARY
1.8K MIGRANTS ALREADY AT BORDER CROSSING POINTS ON THE MEXICAN BORDER
On 15 January, hundreds of mostly Honduran migrants set out in caravans from the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula towards Guatemala en route to the US. The Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM) reports that some 3,500 people crossed into Guatemala between 15 and 16 January.
The Protection cluster estimates that 36 per cent of the migrants are family units, unaccompanied children and adolescents, pregnant women and members of the LGBTI community.
IGM also reports that 64 per cent of the migrants are from Honduras, while the remaining 36 per cent are people from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Cuba.
Groups of Guatemalans are expected to join the groups while they make their way to the Mexican border.
Some 1,000 migrants have already reached Tecún Umán, on the other side of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, with 500 people in shelters and another 500 around immigration and customs points and in the streets. Staff from Guatemala’s police, human rights office and Attorney General’s office are in Tecún Umán as well, as they expect the presence of migrants to grow. There are some 800 people are at El Ceibo in northern Guatemala as well, with approximately 200 in shelters and 600 near the border and in the streets.
The Protection cluster in Guatemala have activated their contingency plan and are monitoring the situation.
UNHCR has already deployed personnel to Aguacaliente on the border and have activated response plans for protection with OHCHR, WASH with UNICEF, health with PAHO, shelter with IOM and food with WFP.
The Social Wellbeing Secretariat (SBS) of the office of the President of Guatemala, the Guatemalan Red Cross and several faith-based organizations are present on the ground providing assistance such as food, medical attention, psychosocial support, information on rights and shelter.
With thousands of migrants making their way through Guatemala to the Guatemala-Mexico border, the Ministry of the Interior announced that it has met with other ministries to establish a task force to assist migrants.
Mexico is already warning undocumented migrants arriving in Tecún Umán in Guatemala that they will not be allowed to pass. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on 17 January that his Government will not grant transit visas to migrants trying to reach the United States, but that there are some 4,000 jobs available.
The UN System in Mexico and Civil Protection at the federal level and state level in Chiapas along the border are monitoring developments. Personnel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Guard, the National Migration institute and other State institutions on the ground in the Suchiate municipality of Chiapas have already met with IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF staff present in Chiapas.
ECUADOR: VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
12.4K HUMANITARIAN VISAS FOR VENEZUELANS ISSUED BY ECUADOR SINCE AUGUST 2019
Migrant Support Service (SAM) officials in Guayaquil say that around 80 per cent of the 200 Venezuelans they receive daily do not have their passport and remain unaware of the procedure to obtain Ecuador’s humanitarian visa.
Ecuador is carrying out a census and registration process for Venezuelans in Ecuador that will end on 31 March.
Under the terms of the process, Venezuelans must have a passport to apply for the visa. Many are still in the process of filing for their passport.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Ecuador issued 187,830 visas to foreigners from 169 different countries between 2017 and 2019, with Venezuelans accounting for more than half of the total with 99,103 visas.
Since placing new entry requirements for Venezuelans in August 2019, Ecuador has issued 12,410 humanitarian visas to Venezuelans.
BAHAMAS: HURRICANE DORIAN
500 VULNERABLE FAMILIES IN ABACO PARTICIPATING IN WFP FOOD VOUCHER PROGRAMME
FOOD VOUCHER PROGRAMME
WFP announced on 15 January that it would distribute food vouchers to assist 500 vulnerable families living on Abaco, the island most affected by the passage of Hurricane Dorian. The voucher program is backed by contributions from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by Samaritan’s Purse.
The vouchers will provide families with a two-month food supply and can be used to purchase other essential household items. The vouchers come as the island’s largest supermarket reopening, providing families who have thus far been dependent on emergency food assistance with purchasing options.
Recipient families were selected by a WFP-led needs assessment carried out with the Government and partners.
The Government of The Bahamas, in partnership with UNDP, hosted the Hurricane Dorian Pledging conference on 13 January, where representatives from governments, multilateral agencies and financial institutions such as the Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank convened to mobilize recovery financing.
Participants pledged financing for homebuilding and repair, educational assistance, renewable energy, grants, direct assistance to affected people, loans and financing and relief aid. The Government made presentations on their recovery priorities and a specially tailored fund to manage reconstruction finances.
UNDP is committing its support for Bahamas’ resource mobilization efforts due to Bahamas’ classification as a highincome country, a designation that limits their access to Official Development Assistance. UNDP and the Government say they will issue a detailed account of pledging commitments broken down by sectors and stakeholders.