Guatemala: Population movement – DREF Operation N ° MDRGT017, Operation Update Report N ° 1 – Guatemala
Summary of the main revisions made to the emergency action plan:
The RCMP is finalizing the procurement processes for the replacement of pre-ordered supplies to meet the trailers. Some of these supplies were used to provide services to the population who moved from July 25 to the second week of August 2021, where the influx of Honduran migrants remained constant. The flow of people did not occur as expected under the proposed scenarios. According to the new context, changes in the people migration strategy have been included. People travel in small groups gathered on Guatemalan territory. These groups entered the country on different days and not in a massive movement as has been done before.
The changed context forced the RCMP to provide services to returning migrants. About 4,000 migrants returned from August 11 to 20 through Guatemala’s northern border with Mexico called El Ceibo.
Since August 18, the RCMP began providing humanitarian assistance to returning migrants, setting up a humanitarian service point at the El Ceibo border. Since then, the GRC has sought to evolve its strategy and integrate the services provided to date into this DREF, providing a new response approach depending on the context.
In order to extend GRC’s coverage to this new situation, the operation will be extended by one month. The new end date is November 30, 2021. The flow of returnees is expected to continue in November. This one-month free extension request is aligned with the current response of migrants in Honduras supported by DREF.
A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
Massive population movement (caravans)
On July 23, 2021, the Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM for its acronym in Spanish) shared information about an alert issued on a possible mass movement (“Caravan”) of 12,000 people arriving from Honduras at the end of July. Based on the alert, the migration authorities carried out inter-institutional coordination activities to create an approach strategy to deal with the possible massive population movement. During the days leading up to the possible migrant caravan, IGM maintained communications with the Honduran migration authorities to provide a binational response, as it had done in past mass movements, where return processes Safely from Guatemala to Honduras were activated.
According to social networks and the monitoring of the Honduran Red Cross, between 9,000 and 12,000 people are expected to enter Guatemalan territory in mixed flows, including children, adolescents, adults, men and women. Thanks to the communication and coordination mechanism established between the CDH, the GRC and the IFRC, in which the ICRC was invited to participate, it has been possible to generate a dialogue and coordination between the two National Societies since July 23, where it was agreed to carry out emergency action plans in preparation to provide a relevant response to the possible caravan of migrants.
The National Society was ready to help migrants in transit by providing them with supplies such as hygiene kits, drinking water, first aid materials at branches in Guatemala City, Chiquimula, Mazatenango, Coatepeque, Tecún Uman , Izabal and Peten (as foreseen in the RCMP National Action Plan). This plan driven at the same access points of the previous caravans may be the same for this potential caravan, that is, across the borders of Agua Caliente and El Florido, in the department of Chiquimula, and the border of ‘El Cinchao, in the department of Izabal. And the access points to Mexico would be the borders of La Técnica and El Ceibo, in the department of Petén, and Tecún Umán, in the department of San Marcos.
Population movements began on July 25 from Honduras, with small groups leaving San Pedro Sula and entering mainly through the border from Corinto to Izabal. Groups that entered Guatemala from July 25 to August 18 regrouped into groups of less than 30 people, many of whom were already gathered in Guatemalan territory. The HRC reported that no more than 100 people gathered at the Gran Terminal de Buses, San Pedro Sula, at the end of July, as reported, the GRC kept its 7 humanitarian service points active for the migratory route in the departments of Petén, Izabal, Chiquimula, Suchitepéquez, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos. Until August 1, groups of 15, 20 and 25 people entered the country every day. Currently, the flow of people has decreased and the number of visits varies from 5 to 15 per day in some humanitarian service points.
Migrants do not enter Guatemala through border administrative offices (migration and customs); they cross irregular places – blind spots – which makes it difficult to spot them. The National Society has carried out a count based on the number of migrants who come to HSPs, where records indicate that children represent 15.40% of people who have attended HSPs. Since August 18, groups continue to enter using the same dynamic. GRC reports that 5,993 people have been assisted. The presence of security forces has diminished along the north-eastern migratory routes. These small migrating groups are a new modality of migration, as governments stop mass movements. Since August 18, the NS has continued to provide regular services to its Izabal and Chiquimula HSPs as a migratory entry and transit route.
Population movements and mixed flows in Guatemala have increased, increasing the needs and vulnerabilities of people on the move.