REGIONAL: POVERTY & FOOD SECURITY
The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) forecasts that the compounding effects of the Ukraine war on sharp economic slowdowns, rising inflation and laggard labour market recovery will cause poverty and extreme poverty levels to reach as high as 33.7 and 14.9 per cent, respectively.
The increase in poverty levels, higher than those seen prior to the pandemic, comes against the backdrop of sharp rises in food prices. ECLAC further cautions that the current situation is also linked to more than 10 years of accumulating crises that include the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
ECLAC considers food security as a key priority, as they forecast that 7.8 million people could join the 86.4 million people in the region whose food security is already at risk.
ECUADOR: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
Ecuador is regularizing Venezuelans who legally entered the country prior to 19 August 2019, when Ecuador’s visa requirement came into effect. This effort would mark the second time Ecuador has moved to regularize Venezuelan refugees and migrants following a 2019 initiative that saw nearly 50,000 people have their status regularized by 2020.
Ecuador will provide an exceptional temporary visa to Venezuelan families if they meet requirements pertaining to identity documentation, entry status and legal standing in Ecuador. The process, provided free of charge, is expected to take 12 months. Once approved, the visa will be valid for two years and can be renewed once. The Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion will oversee the process for unaccompanied children and adolescents.
Per IOM and UNHCR, the majority of Venezuelan migrants and refugees living in Ecuador are undocumented.
As such, the regularization process will ease access to basic services and labour opportunities. Ecuador is currently home to more than 513,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees, the third-largest population of Venezuelans abroad in the entire world, trailing only neighbours Colombia (1.8 million) and Peru (1.2 million).
Officials responding to the effects of heavy rains and flooding in the interior and southern parts of Suriname, where some areas remain under 4 to 6 metres of water, indicate that their capacity for distributing relief goods in the Brokopondo, Sipaliwini, Maroiwijne, Para, Saramacca, Coronie and Nickerie districts, all declared disaster zones, has been exceeded and, as such, are seeking support from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the UN to respond.
The CDEMA Coordinating Unit activated regional coordination and response mechanisms and have deployed teams to advise Suriname on the scale of the necessary response and provide support for the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), reporting and information management. The UN Resident Coordinator, PAHO, WFP, NCCR, CDEMA and NGOs are coordinating through an International Partners Coordinating Group. Partners are carrying out sector-based work with relevant State counterparts operating in an Inter-Ministerial Crisis Team, focusing on Health and WASH, Education, NFIs and Logistics and Shelter. PAHO, UNICEF and WFP are on the ground providing material and technical support as required.
The high water levels will endanger food security and livelihoods for the foreseeable future, according to the Government. The flooding has also damaged water treatment infrastructure, posing a threat to clean water and hygiene. Authorities indicate a growth in the mosquito population, raising concerns over the risk of vectorborne illness. CDEMA indicates that several communities are cut off from assistance due to the flooding’s impact on access roads, prompting the use of aircraft and boats to deliver relief items. While rainfalls are likely to abate in the short-term, forecasts call for rains to pick back up in coming weeks.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.