Erratic Weather Patterns in the Central American Dry Corridor Leave 1.4 Million People in Urgent Need of Food Assistance
By the numbers:
- Population: 16.3 million
- 2 out of 3 people live on less than $2 per day
- 46 percent of children under 5 are stunted, with highs at 90 percent in some areas
- 80 percent of indigenous people experience severe food shortages
Guatemala has the fourth highest stunting rate in the world and the highest stunting rate in Latin America and the Caribbean. Huger is driven mainly by extreme inequality, poverty, poor living conditions, low education levels, and natural disasters.
Guatemala is also one of the top 10 countries categorized as most susceptible to climate change, and the fourth most vulnerable to natural disasters in the region. Over the past three years, prolonged dry spells led to small harvests or complete crop failures of corn and beans, which has pushed subsistence farmers further into hunger.
WFP has been present in Guatemala since 1974. Its activities focus on:
- Nutrition: WFP supports the Government’s efforts to prevent stunting by providing specialized nutritious foods to children under 2 as well as promoting behavioral change. WFP focuses on municipalities where the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 exceeds 50 percent.
- Capacity strengthening: WFP works with government institutions to strengthen their capacities in the areas of nutrition, food security, emergency preparedness and response. WFP also works to incorporate climate change and food security into national policy and to include small-scale farmers in public food procurement processes.
- Resilience building: WFP operates Food for Assets initiatives, whereby people receive food or cash in exchange for building or rehabilitating public assets that will strengthen their resilience to climate shocks and stresses. Activities – including water and soil conservation as well as roads and agroforestry– are chosen and planned through a participatory process with local communities.
- Support for small-scale farmers: WFP helps small-scale farmers’ organizations to diversify their crops, access local markets, and participate in public social programs.
- Emergency response: WFP supports government efforts to provide food and/or cash assistance to people affected by natural shocks, be they sudden – such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes or landslides – or slow-onset, such as droughts or prolonged dry seasons.