Crisis watch

Florentine, a young mother in Mozambique, who received assistance from CARE following drought and food shortages
29 April 2021

Central America cyclone season

Climate change is exacerbating extreme weather in Central America, increasing the intensity of both rain and droughts, and warming sea temperatures are contributing to hyperactive storm seasons, which are devastating for communities without the resilience to deal with them.

The tropical storms Eta and Iota which hit Honduras and Guatemala in October 2020 caused flooding and landslides at a scale never seen before. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and crops and were forced to evacuate, leaving everything behind. Now these people are facing a new hurricane season. Rogelia Soto, CARE Guatemala Country Director, says:

The 2.4 million affected by Eta and Iota have not yet recovered, while the first rains of the 2021 season caused the first displacement of more than a thousand people.

Catalina Vargas, CARE Regional Humanitarian Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, says:

The impact of the hurricane season aggravated the situation of poverty, hunger, and inequality that is occurring in both Guatemala and Honduras due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CARE and UN Women conducted a Rapid Gender Analysis in Guatemala and Honduras in January to measure the effects of the tropical storms on women and girls and found that they have exacerbated already existing gender inequalities. The arrival of storms Eta and Iota left thousands of women unprotected, forcing them into temporary shelters and into employment in the informal sector after losing their homes and crops.

One of the main effects was the loss of autonomy: women have fewer or no social, political, and economic resources. Women also continue to assume sole responsibility for reproductive health issues and care work at home, perpetuating gender stereotypes that limit their possibilities for development. Maite Matheu, CARE Honduras Country Director, says:

The lack of access to adequate and appropriate support services and protection, the lack of access to economic opportunities as well as the lack of knowledge of their rights are increasing the risk of women and girls from most affected communities to gender-based violence, abuse, and exploitation. Many women and their children are at risk of displacement or migration as they are afraid to return to their communities either by the threat of new floods or the threat of gangs.

Since November 2020, CARE has assisted more than 25,000 people in Honduras and Guatemala affected by the hurricane season. Our actions sought to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, ensure access to safe water, reduce the risk of malnutrition amongst vulnerable groups, guarantee access to protection systems and psychological support for women survivors of gender based violence, as well as meeting the immediate needs of food,shelter and livelihoods for the affected populations.

27 April 2021

India – COVID-19 second wave

A second wave of COVID-19 is raging through India with devastating impact. Daily infections are at 350,000 and are expected to continue to rise up to 600,000 infections per day.

The current surge is already overwhelming health infrastructure across the country. Even cities like Mumbai and Delhi with well-established healthcare networks are under tremendous strain, while across the country there are shortages of oxygen, medicines and hospital beds. Cases are not expected to peak until mid-May, leading to a major human catastrophe.

CARE is monitoring the situation and assessing how we can contribute to the response.

26 April 2021

Somalia – drought

CARE is calling for urgent humanitarian support to save thousands of lives in the country: according to UNOCHA at least 3.4 million people are projected to be affected by drought by the end of 2021, of whom 380,000 are expected to be displaced. Iman Abdullahi, CARE Somalia/Somaliland Country Director, said:

The humanitarian situation in the country is dire as dry conditions have escalated to a drought. Villages have completely run out of water and are now relying on humanitarian agencies to support through water trucking which is not adequate to meet the need.

Our teams on the ground have witnessed communities drinking contaminated water putting them at risk of waterborne diseases. Some parents have told us that they have already started to go for a whole day without drinking any water as they are choosing to give the little water available to the children.

Mariam, a mother of two from Jariban district which is one of the areas worst affected by the drought, said:

This Ramadan, the only thing I am praying for is rain. Things have become so difficult. All the water basins in our village have dried up and without the water trucking support we are receiving, we would have to walk 50km to the nearest water point. I have lost some of my livestock due to lack of pasture and I don’t know how I will provide for my family if we do not receive rains soon.

CARE’s humanitarian response in Somalia/Somaliland includes:

  • Water trucking in Lower Juba, Somaliland and Puntland
  • Cash assistance in Galmudug, Puntland and Somaliland for affected families to meet their immediate food needs
  • Provision of primary health services to affected communities
  • Provision of infant and child feeding services including nutrition screening and treatment of severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition
  • Protection response including support for GBV (gender-based violence) survivors with psychosocial support and clinical management of rape.
20 April 2021

Urgent action needed to prevent famine

Over 260 NGOs and civil society organisations have signed an open letter to governments calling on them to “give a single day’s military spending to fight hunger”. The signatories, from all over the world, including some of the countries worst affected by severe food insecurity, are warning:

Already 174 million people in 58 countries ... are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, and this figure is only likely to rise in coming months if nothing is done immediately.

The letter says that “conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger, also exacerbated by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic”. Amb. Ahmed Shehu, Regional Coordinator for the Civil Society Network of Lake Chad Basin, said:

The situation here is really dire. Seventy percent of people in this region are farmers but they can’t access their land because of violence, so they can’t produce food. These farmers have been providing food for thousands for years – now they have become beggars themselves. Food production is lost, so jobs are lost, so income is lost, so people cannot buy the food. Then, we as aid workers cannot safely even get to people to help them. Some of our members risked the journey to reach starving communities and were abducted – we don’t know where they are. This has a huge impact on those of us desperate to help.

Sofía Sprechmann Sineiro, CARE International Secretary General,  said:

Whether Yemen, Syria or the DRC, funding to respond to the hunger crisis is not materialising. Yet trillions are invested in rescue packages for corporates all over the world. Donors must step up. It is not a matter of affordability; it is a matter of political will. CARE’s evidence base tells us that for every dollar women earn, 80 cents go back into the family, compared with 30 cents of every dollar men earn. Gender inequality is a key predictor of the occurrence and recurrence of armed conflict. If we fail to grasp this simple fact, we will fail to prevent or effectively counter famine.

19 April 2021

Tigray, Ethiopia

Conflict, instability, displacement, food shortages, high food prices, and lack of access to markets are likely to lead to an increase in hunger and malnutrition in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Esther Watts, CARE Ethiopia Country Director, says:

This is an area that was already suffering from food security issues before the conflict, with amongst the worst malnutrition and stunting rates in the country. On top of this northern and central parts of Tigray were also hit by the locust swarms last year. All this means that people in the region have no harvests to live off and nothing to plant during the upcoming planting season, leaving them in a truly dire situation. These impacts are compounded by the psychological trauma and fear faced by household members on a daily basis.

People have told CARE that their immediate needs include food and nutrition support, non-food items (such as mattresses, blankets, kitchen utensils and jerrycans), health services, agricultural inputs, and, ultimately, peace.

The Tigray conflict has also exacerbated gender and other inequalities, and increased the risk of gender-based violence. One woman told CARE:

I tell everyone that I spend the night with family but in fact I am sleeping in my own broken house. I hide everything, including my clothes, during the day. I do not want people, especially the men, to know I will be there at night.

CARE is responding to the conflict in Tigray providing vital food, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene support as well as support to victims of gender-based violence as a result of the crisis. Since the beginning of our response in early December, CARE has reached more than 76,000 people across the central, southern, western and eastern parts of Tigray and bordering northern Amhara and Afar. CARE has also trained health facility workers on psychological first aid and is about to set up mobile health and nutrition services in Eastern Tigray.

Prior to the conflict, CARE has been implementing livelihoods and resilience building activities in Tigray for many years through our local implementing partner the Relief Society of Tigray (REST).