USAID is responding to rising humanitarian needs in the Northern Triangle, including working with Catholic Relief Services to distribute food and hygiene kits to people affected by the storms in Guatemala. Photo credit: Catholic Relief Services

Key Developments

Since the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020, limited health service capacity and insufficient availability of water and sanitation infrastructure have undermined efforts to control disease transmission. Meanwhile the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic have exacerbated food, health, livelihoods, nutrition, protection, and water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs, significantly increasing the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance in Guatemala.

The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan—released in February 2023—identified 5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Guatemala, with the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projecting that up to 2.5 million people in Guatemala would likely face Crisis—IPC 3—or worse levels of acute food insecurity through August 2023.


Climatic shocks continue to exacerbate humanitarian needs across Guatemala. Recurrent droughts in parts of the Dry Corridor—an area encompassing a majority of central Guatemala—have diminished crop yields and increased food insecurity. In addition, hurricanes and other severe weather events have destroyed infrastructure and increased population displacement in affected areas.

In response, USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) funds early recovery, risk reduction and resilience activities that focus on improving food security and promoting climate change adaptation. For example, in Fiscal Year 2023, USAID/BHA partners are providing $4.5 million to drought affected subsistence farmers across Guatemala, helping beneficiaries maintain their crops amid low seasonal rainfall. Partners are also supporting vulnerable households to restore livelihoods and increase financial resilience, as well as addressing WASH needs by repairing water supply systems and conducting hygiene promotion activities to reduce waterborne disease transmission risks.

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