Flash Appeal for Guatemala Food Insecurity 2010

6 March 2010

Duration: March to August 2010
Key milestones
Planting seasons: March- June and August- September
Harvest season: January- March
Rainy season: May- November
Target beneficiaries: 136,000 families
Funding requested per beneficiary: $50 
Total funding requested: $34,193,050

Guatemala is currently in the grip of a protracted food insecurity crisis, which has particularly affected the approximately 2.7 million people living in the country’s so-called Dry Corridor (and neighbouring departments).  Global acute malnutrition among children under five in the Dry Corridor and two neighbouring provinces is 11%, and among women of child-bearing age 13%, both above the emergency threshold of 10%.  This crisis stems from a combination of factors, above all, its vulnerability to changes in global markets and to climate-related events.   In 2009 Guatemala was severely affected by atypical rainfall patterns brought on by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which caused high losses in hillside and subsistence agricultural production.  Furthermore, the impact of the world economic crisis in combination with continuously high food prices, a decrease in remittances, cost increases for agricultural inputs and a decrease in employment opportunities for unqualified labour, have resulted in poorer populations suffering from decreased capacities to access food and basic services. 

Due to lower yields of basic grain crops, household food reserves have been reduced or depleted sooner than normal.  For the second consecutive year, the annual period of food shortage has started in February, three months sooner than usual.  The El Niño phenomenon is forecast to further delay the rainy season, with extreme temperatures aggravating the situation.  Additionally, the season of high demand for unqualified labour ends in the first quarter of 2010, which will reduce options for generating income for food purchases and access to basic services.  This situation of food insecurity is worsening what is already one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world (affecting 43% of children below five years of age).   The rise in acute malnutrition, including clinical cases of kwashiorkor and marasmus, has particularly affected the Dry Corridor in the east and centre of the country.   The Dry Corridor encompasses the departments of Baja Verapaz, Jalapa, Jutiapa, El Progreso, Chiquimula, Santa Rosa, and Zacapa. 

To address this situation and other concurring emergencies, the Guatemalan Government declared a State of Public Calamity on 8 September 2009, and has since spent US$17.5 million  in immediate food and humanitarian aid.  This emergency appeal seeks a total of $34,193,050 for projects targeting the Dry Corridor and the two neighbouring departments of Izabal and Quiché, addressing the sectors of food, health, nutrition, agriculture, early recovery, and water-sanitation-hygiene.  Projects in these sectors will support and complement national humanitarian efforts over a planning and budgeting horizon of six months, benefiting approximately 136,000 families (roughly 680,000 individuals).  Projects included in this appeal have been planned and budgeted in consultation with the Guatemalan Government and with the in-country Humanitarian Network (a group comprised of both NGO and UN partners.)  The coordination with different governmental authorities has ensured necessary links between emergency response, recovery, and long-term development programmes and objectives. 

(This appeal shares characteristics of both a flash appeal and consolidated appeal: it is a slow-onset but new situation needing an acute response (which may prove to be relatively short-term), yet it has been developed after a period of analysis and inclusive joint planning.)

Document History

6 March 2010

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