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The reason why people are fleeing Central America

El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras make up the Northern Triangle, a region of Central America where many are fleeing their homes. A combination of poverty and security conditions--made worse by natural disasters and poor governance-- are responsible for the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Many rural families had started selling off land and migrating when the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit the region in 2020.

Map of the Northern Triangle, which consists of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Photo from Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ), CDC

Approximately 8 million people in the Northern Triangle and Nicaragua are facing hunger, including 1.7 million contending with emergency levels of food insecurity, according to the World Food Programme.

The Northern Triangle has been plagued with violence, but homicide rates rose rapidly in the 2000s, as the region became the primary transit corridor for South American narcotics.

In a WOLA factsheet, 19 out of 20 murders remain unsolved with a 95% impunity rate in the Northern Triangle. In addition, extortion is common, and failure to pay can result in harassment, violence or death. At least 71,500 Salvadorans and 247,000 Hondurans have been displaced internally by violence as of 2018, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Governments in the Northern Triangle have struggled to address the region’s difficult social and economic factors, security conditions, and to respond to natural disasters.

At the Virtual Washington Conference on the Americas on May 4, Vice President Harris explained what focus each one of the countries in the region needed.

  • In El Salvador, in the face of violence, we must focus on high-crime areas and give young people alternatives to gang recruitment.

  • In Honduras, in the wake of hurricanes, we must deliver food, shelter, water and sanitation to the people.

  • In Guatemala, as farmers endure continuous droughts, we must work with them to plant drought-resistant crops. We must also help farmers increase their harvest.

One Digital World empowers refugees and asylum seekers worldwide by using technology to connect them with education and equipment essential to integration and self-reliance in a new country and culture.

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