Guatemala: Migration crisis in Central America and Mexico – Emergency appeal n° MDR43008 – Country operational strategy – Guatemala



Funding requirement for Guatemala: 2.8 million Swiss francs
IFRC Secretariat Funding requirement: CHF 18 million
Federation-wide funding requirement: CHF 28 million


Migration is an element that takes place in a context marked by historical, political, economic and social ties. People undertake their migration route due to a variety of multi-causal factors and motivations, such as poverty, inequality, lack of opportunities, impacts of climate change in rural areas, family reunification and violence widespread. They are not standalone patterns and can go hand in hand with each other.

The selection of the different migratory routes is characterized by a series of common factors: the lack of economic resources; the information channels used; the means of transport chosen; the use of a passer; and knowledge of the various blind spots that cross international borders. While each route has its particularities, they all present a high level of danger.

In the country, people on the move are exposed to many risks, both for their health and for their physical integrity. They are also frequently exposed to different types of violence, extortion and theft.

In recent years, regional responses to violence have often involved increased integration of the military into public security tasks. This reinforced the need for increased observation and vigilance in order to avoid excesses and to ensure the proper use of force in each situation. The entry of 41,179 Guatemalan returnees was recorded from January to May 2022, mainly from the United States and Mexico. According to the Guatemalan Red Cross (CRG by its Spanish acronym), in May 2022, an average of 160 people per day used the humanitarian service points at the border points of El Corinto and Agua Caliente. According to information from Medicos del Mundo Guatemala, at the Esquipulas Migrants House, on the Agua Caliente migratory route, 450 migrants in transit were taken care of in May 2022, and an average of 230 migrants were accommodated by day.

Given the increase in massive mixed flows of people on the move in recent months, the demand for humanitarian services has also increased, as well as the need to expand care in different parts of the country. It has also required the availability of resources of all kinds to ensure quality and relevant care. In this sense, the emergency appeal for the migration crisis in Central America and Mexico is necessary and relevant, and in turn, reinforces the work that the Guatemalan Red Cross (CRG) has been doing through various projects, at medium and long term, through the migration programme.

Severity of humanitarian conditions

Protection risks during transit and return are correlated to the profile and vulnerability of people on the move. In this sense, among the most vulnerable groups are children and adolescents, women, LGTBIQ+ people, people with disabilities, people with chronic diseases and family units with limited resources. The key points to recognize are:

  1. Mobility restrictions and border closures decreed by States due to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased and complicated the protection risks for people on the move.

  2. Access to physical and mental health services for the migrant population and those who receive them is limited, so there are still specific barriers to comprehensive, quality and relevant services.

  3. Discrimination and xenophobia, as well as other formal and informal barriers, such as legal, social and cultural issues, including language and relationships, increase the vulnerability of the migrant population.

  4. The protection risks faced by migrants in transit, such as armed violence, human trafficking, smuggling, gender-based and sexual violence, require specialized care needs.

These situations generate a perverse circle: migrants seek new blind spots to circumvent migration controls, exacerbating the risk of suffering abuses and human rights violations along the migration route.


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