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ICYMI: Food, Economic Insecurity in Central America Increase Urgency For TPS Following Hurricanes

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The Biden Administration Should Urgently Designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras & Nicaragua

Reuters reports that the United Nations World Food Programme released a new study citing that millions across Central America are facing “emergency level food insecurity” as a result of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Eta and Iota that devastated the region in late 2020.

As each week goes by, the deteriorating conditions in Central America worsen. With each new report and analysis highlighting the crises in Central America, it increases the urgency for the Biden administration to designate El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status.

This is the very situation for which TPS was created. Designating countries in the region for TPS should be part of a larger regional approach that, in the short term, would lessen the brunt of the humanitarian crises by allowing immigrants from those countries already in the U.S. to not be deported back to instability and extremely unsafe conditions. 

The Reuters article is excerpted below and available online here

The number of people going hungry in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua has nearly quadrupled in the last two years, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as Central America has been battered by an economic crisis.

New data released by the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) showed nearly 8 million people across the four countries are experiencing hunger this year, up from 2.2 million in 2018.

“The COVID-19-induced economic crisis had already put food on the market shelves out of reach for the most vulnerable people when the twin hurricanes Eta and Iota battered them further,” Miguel Barreto, WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a statement.

He was referring to two hurricanes that hit Central America in November.

“We’re eating the little food that people give to us,” said Marina Rosado, 70, who along with her son and grandchildren lives along a boulevard in the Honduran city of Lima that was inundated by flooding last year.

The storms that destroyed their home were the latest blow pushing the family further into hunger, Rosado said, after pandemic-related restrictions limited their ability to collect bottles and cans in the streets to sell to recycling companies.

Hunger is particularly bad in the “Dry Corridor” that runs through Central America, where climate change has exacerbated drought in recent years.

The WFP also noted that 15% of those surveyed by the organization in January 2021 said that they were making concrete plans to migrate – nearly double the percentage in 2018.