ASB lanza Programa Humanitario en respuesta a la sequía en Centroamérica
19 May 2016

ASB launches Humanitarian Programme in response to the drought in Central America

The programme will benefit 22,275 people who have been severely affected by drought in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, who are in a situation of food insecurity.

In Central America, 3.5 million people are currently affected by the accumulated effects of three consecutive years of drought. Of these, more than 1 million have lost their basic grain crops and lack seeds to plant and/or have had their sources of income reduced, so they are in a situation of food insecurity and require immediate humanitarian assistance.

The Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland e.V. (ASB) has started in May the first distributions of maize and bean seeds, fertilizers and agricultural tools to 4,250 farming families in the Central American Dry Corridor who have lost their basic grain crops in the last 3 years due to drought.

"We seek to alleviate the suffering of thousands of vulnerable people who have been severely hit by the drought and who have so far received no assistance. Simultaneously, we aim to strengthen their resilience to the increasingly recurrent and severe adverse weather conditions in the region," says Alejandro Zurita, ASB's Regional Director for Latin America. He adds: "However, vulnerability and susceptibility to drought is strongly associated with the structural poverty that Central American countries suffer and which remains a social and ethical debt of their leaders". The case of Guatemala stands out, where 49% of children under 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition, which means that they have an irreversible retard in their growth due to an insufficient and/or unbalanced diet.

The humanitarian program, with a budget of USD 2.5 million, includes the delivery of a total of 74 tons of basic grain seeds to cultivate a total of 2,415 hectares, 345 tons of fertilizer and 12,750 agricultural tools.

In addition, 205 tons of food will be delivered to families to help them cope with the most critical period of food shortages (June to August) and 15 public therapeutic feeding centers will be supported and equipped for the timely and proper detection, referral and treatment of at least 2,000 children with acute malnutrition.

Home water tanks and filters will also be provided to 1,725 families so that 9,088 persons can have access to safe water at the household level.

In parallel, 1,247 mitigation and adaptation measures to drought and climate change effects will be introduced, benefiting 8,694 people (32 protected water sources, 66 seed banks, 185 efficient family irrigation systems, 200 plots for water and soil protection, 600 vegetable gardens, 150 agroforestry plots, 14 rainwater harvesting systems)

Finally, more than 5,000 people will be trained in agricultural techniques for adapting to drought, in family nutrition and health, and in the rational and efficient use of water.

The programme is implemented by local ASB partner organisations in each country. Guatemala: Asociación Regional Campesina Chortí (ASORECH), Nicaragua: Unión Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos - Estelí (UNAG Estelí), Honduras: Fundación en Acción Comunitaria de Honduras (FUNACH), El Salvador: Fundación para el Desarrollo Educativo Morazán en Acción (FUNDEMAC) In Honduras and El Salvador, the project has the technical support of Ayuda en Acción- Spain.