Guatemala

Photo: Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger, Guatemala
Population
16.3 million
Human Development Index
125 (out of 188 countries ranked)
Our Team
30 employees
Program Start
1998

People Helped in 2017: 31,206

472
People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs 
30,734
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs 

Action Against Hunger has been present in Guatemala since 1998, during which we’ve helped communities recover from the effects of several natural disasters and storms, while working with at-risk communities to address endemic economic instability and poverty. Public safety, migration, drug trafficking, education and poor access to clean water and basic sanitation are some of the challenges facing Guatemalans, and more than half of its population lives below the national poverty threshold, being highly vulnerable to seasonal hunger and food shortages.

The early 2000s saw a range of natural disasters in Guatemala that required Action Against Hunger’s teams to respond to the immediate needs of the affected populations. Our teams helped families made homeless by massive storms relocate to shelters and other safe spaces; we distributed emergency food provisions of corn, beans, sugar, oil, and vitamin supplements to help the displaced; and we supplied tools to assist the local population with clean-up efforts. We also rehabilitated damaged wells and restored safe water in areas where supplies were contaminated by flooding.

Today, the political situation in Guatemala remains highly fragile. A government crisis in 2017 resulted in the resignation of several ministers. 73 per cent of the population have no medical coverage and 53 per cent have insufficient income to cover their nutritional needs. The government’s inability to ensure access to basic services exacerbates the situation of the most vulnerable people in the face of social inequality and the impact of climate change.

Between 2015 and 2016 Guatemala faced one of the worst droughts in the last 25 years, whose consequences still persist among the population of the area called the Dry Corridor. The food shortage worsened in 2017, although it was when it rained most. The lack of employment, coupled with little support from the State and the lack of rural development projects, kill the hopes of many families. 

Guatemala has the highest chronic malnutrition rate in Latin America and one of the highest in the world (46.5%), which can reach 80% in some areas such as Chiquimula, as well as in a large part of the Dry Corridor.

Action Against Hunger continues to lead the humanitarian consortium responding to the food crisis in the Dry Corridor. We are also working to improve the nutrition situation in Chiquimula and we have set up a vulnerabilities monitoring system.

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