Report: Years Of Climate Induced Famine Driving Migration From Central America
The World Food Programme identified climate-induced lack of food as a primary driver of migration from Central America, following the fifth consecutive year of extreme weather leading to bad harvests, according to Scientific American.
Crop failures in the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are causing 1.4 million people to urgently need food assistance. The agency said that 30 percent of the households with migrants in the affected areas cited lack of food as the main reason for leaving their homes.
Honduras declared a state of emergency following the 2019 drought that left a reported 72 percent of corn and 75 percent of beans being lost, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
The lack of landfalling Atlantic tropical cyclones (tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) is part of the reasons for the drought conditions. Typically, the region gets one or more named storms, but in 2018 and 2019, none occurred. These tropical cyclones are an important source of precipitation to the region.
Human-caused climate change has caused major disruptions to agriculture in Central America, such as late summer seasonal rains. Large portions of Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala received 80 percent of their average rainfall for the summer, and heavy rains in September and October caused damaging floods.
A report by the World Bank in 2018 found that 1.4 to 2.1 million people in Central American and Mexico are likely to become displaced by 2050 due to factors related to climate change.