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WFP and FAO Call for Structural Measures to Prevent Drought from Undermining the Food Security In the Dry Corridor In Central America

Panama City, August, 11, 2015 – For the second consecutive year, the vulnerable communities that live in the Dry Corridor of Central America are even more threatened as a consequence of the climatic conditions that affect the region.

The recurrent droughts have converted into a cyclical characteristic of the changing climate in the region. For this reason, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are calling for an investment in structural measures to increase the resilience and reinforce the capacities of the countries affected. This involves the management of risks with regards to strengthening the infrastructure, the improvement of early warning systems, the use of natural resources and the adaption of the productive systems to the climate’s variability.

As a result of the 2014 drought, the WFP has been providing food assistance with a focus on resilience to some 240,000 people this year. For its part, FAO responded to the emergency with five projects for rehabilitating livelihoods and boosting the resilience of 80,000 people through strengthening the capacity of producers’ and the local institutions, to improve and diversity agriculture and livestock production.

To date, in most of the territories producing staple grains in the Pacific watershed, the rain levels have been below those of the previous year and lower than the historical average; in addition the arrived with late across almost the whole of Central America. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has warned that there is a high risk (90%) that El Niño phenomenon will persist until March 2016.

Consequently, there is a situation of risk of drought extension that deserves major attention, monitoring and coordination on the regional level and per country. As a result of the conclusions on the possible impact of a new drought, new preparation and humanitarian response plans must be considered.
The same hazardous phenomenon is also affecting the Caribbean region and in most countries agricultural production and the availability of drinking water is being strongly affected.

“It is essential that the countries and the international community prioritize resources to face the negative impacts caused by the insufficient and irregular rains in the countries of Central America, with both short and long-term measures,” said Miguel Barreto, WFP Regional Director, and Ignacio Rivera, Coordinator of the FAO Sub-Regional Office for Mesoamerica.

“The Regional Offices of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme, as specialized agencies for food and nutritional security, accompany the countries in the monitoring and evaluation and putting in place action plans.
Both agencies reaffirm their commitment and call upon other partners to work together to prevent the continuous deterioration of the living conditions of the most vulnerable communities in the Dry Corridor and to strengthen the resilience of the Central American countries.”

WFP Media Relations
Elio Rujano
World Food Programme
Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
Mob. +507 6677-0608
Tel: +507 317-3900