MARCH 19, 2020. PUBLISHED BY: LISA PANDONE BENSON, THE QUEEN ESTHER PROJECT.
(John Moore/Getty Images)
Hit by hurricanes and COVID, more Central Americans are going hungry, and are migrating.
Nearly 8 million people are hungry in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). Hurricanes destroyed the homes and livelihoods of 6.8 million people, according to WFP. These workers served tourism, and other service jobs. In November 2020, Hurricane Eta and Iota destroyed over 200,000 hectares of crops in the region (equal to covering to Hong Kong's twice over).
A few months before Eta, Hurricane Amanda hit 12,000 hectors of crops in El Salvador affecting 22,000 farmer's livelihoods. The WFP said 336,000 people have become severely food insecure.
In August 2019, Honduras declared a state of emergency after a drought ruined many of the crops in its south and Nicaragua's north. The hurricanes, and the aftermath, affected more than 4 million people in Honduras - people were left stranded on their roofs of homes two weeks after the climate event.
The WFP survey found that 15% of people in these countries are making planes to migrate.
In addition to those who are fleeing CLIMATE DISASTER ZONES, there are those in the Central American Triangle fleeing corruption, and violence.
Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas summarized conditions, "Poverty, high levels of violence, and corruption in Mexico and the Northern and Central Triangle countries have propelled migration to our southwest border for years."
However, QEP points out that the conditions are deteriorating due to climate disaster zones, along with corruption and violence.
The Biden Administration has issued a statement that "not the time to make the journey" leaving populations of people in a precarious and trapped crisis.
Natural disaster in Central America (storms, drought, and pandemic), economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and new United States administration are driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings - a crisis for President Biden.
Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 900 unaccompanied children in December in the El Paso, Texas, sector. I think of the Irish Potato Famine and families sending children away from Ireland - and let's not forget the children of the Holocaust and other genocidal tragedies where parents sent their children to safely. However, the United States border immigration system is currently not adequate to accommodate the masses of people coming to the border.
Lastly, it would be difficult to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 in packed migrant facilities.
A Biden Administration crisis that is escalating requiring immediate response. Follow QEP web site and Facebook page for developments.
Lisa Pandone Benson
CEO/Founder, The Queen Esther Project