Latin America and the Caribbean
2013 requirements (US$)
Update of humanitarian situation
Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions of the world that is most vulnerable to a diversity of hazards that have, in part, been intensified by climate change. They include hurricanes in Central America and the Caribbean; torrential rains and flash flooding across the continent; prolonged droughts in Central America and the Gran Chaco region of South America; cold waves in mountainous areas; large-scale fires in South America; and volcanic activity and earthquakes along the Pacific Coast and in the Caribbean. The region is currently in its annual hurricane season, with the risk of storms that cause flooding and heavy damage. These disasters result in forced displacements and expose children to an increased risk of exploitation and abuse. Tropical Depressions Ingrid and Manuel strongly affected Mexico in September, displacing thousands; however adequate response of the government helped mitigate the impact on affected populations. As hurricane season will continue toward the end of 2013, UNICEF Regional and Country Offices remain ready to respond.
In 2012, the region suffered a series of disasters. Hurricane Sandy impacted millions of people in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. Both Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaac furthered the vulnerability of those living in camps in Haiti, where the population is still struggling to recover from the earthquake and cholera epidemic of 2010. In November, Guatemala was affected by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that left dozens dead.
In Colombia, although tensions between the national army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas remained high during the first part of the year, especially in the departments of Cauca, Putumayo and Chocó; peace talks resulted in a ceasefire in November. Flooding in Colombia’s Putumayo region in July and August impacted vulnerable populations, including indigenous people. Floods also hit the Loreto region of Peru early in the year. Meanwhile, Paraguay experienced dual emergencies: cyclical drought due to the effects of La Niña, as well as flooding affecting 13,000 families, mostly within indigenous communities in the Paraguayan Chaco.
Planned results for 2013
Results from 2013
Through 2013, TACRO has worked to support Country Offices on emergency preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), with particular focus of strengthening the understanding of the application of emergency response procedures and the implementation of the Transformative Agenda.
Emergency preparedness and response: With the support of the Regional Office and following a regional simulation held at the end of 2012, the majority of the Country Offices (19 out of 25) have reviewed their preparedness levels through internal systems (Early Warning Early Action), including programme, logistics, HR and supply preparedness. Simulation initiatives have been undertaken in three countries (Colombia, Jamaica, and Guyana) for putting in practice humanitarian action policies and procedures; additional simulations will be held in the last quarter of 2013. Additional support was granted by the Regional Office through ad hoc missions to various countries, including the Caribbean, ahead of the hurricane season to review the level of preparedness of Country Offices and the coordination with other humanitarian actors and governments. The Regional Office has continued to promote activities in regional sectoral coordination working groups in Education, WASH and Protection, while supporting the creation of a Nutrition working group at regional level.
Disaster risk reduction (DRR): Through the Regional Coalition on DRR for Children (CORELAC), with the Rescue Education Trust Fund (RET), TACRO has organized the first UNICEF South-South Cooperation meeting with 11 countries. Following the guidelines of the Global Platform of DRR, TACRO supported the elaboration of the DRR National Policy of Ecuador’s Ministry of Education and, as a result, US$40 million has been allocated by the government to support capacity building activities, safe school index implementation, and preparedness and response procedures. The Regional Office maintains the provision of continuous support to Country Offices for inclusion of DRR as a priority focus into programmes, development of DRR strategies, and capacity building exercises. Five countries (Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras and Cuba) are developing a specific DRR program at local level, including all UNICEF sectors. TACRO has also supported the development of fundraising documents in five Country Offices (Haiti, Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, and Nicaragua) in order to support resource mobilization for DRR activities.
Education in emergencies (EiE): The Regional Office has continued to support, via UNICEF Country Offices, 18 Ministries of Education on implementing DRR strategies with a focus on promoting safe schools, the right to education in emergencies and school emergency plans. Progress has been registered in 11 countries where the Regional Office has provided support to strengthen national capacity building, in order to improve preparedness and response in the education sector, involving Education and Civil protection institutions. In the frame of the Regional Education in Emergency and DRR working group, the Regional Office has supported Country Offices to promote and share sector-specific best practices and tools across the region. In collaboration with Plan International, functionaries of Ministries of Education and Civil Protection Systems of six countries have been trained in preparedness and response in the Education sector. Additionally, 60 professionals have been trained in a Training of Trainers in Education in Emergency, and eight trainings have been replicated at national level.
UNICEF’s Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office (TACRO) works to reinforce the capacity of country offices, partners and national counterparts to respond to emergencies in accordance with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) and within the principles of Humanitarian Reform and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Transformative Agenda. UNICEF will work with partners belonging to REDLAC1 to ensure more focused, cost-effective, and coherent humanitarian work in the region, while building up emergency preparedness through inter-agency cooperation.
TACRO supports partners and national counterparts in building systems, communities and societies that can better resist, absorb, and recover from disasters. This includes a multi-sectoral approach to addressing issues relating to children’s and women’s well-being, including school preparedness and education about disasters and consequent risks; strong water and sanitation systems to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and post-crisis water-related diseases; surveillance, early detection and treatment of malnutrition in drought and disaster-prone areas; social cohesion and violence reduction; and prevention of and response to all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse of women and children in emergencies. This approach combines the strengthening of national capacities with the development of local capacities for disaster risk reduction.
UNICEF aims to strengthen and promote governments’ leadership of sectoral coordination in emergencies, including clusters when activated. The regional office works to promote national humanitarian policies in line with the CCCs, while providing technical support and training to national counterparts for preparedness and response. A guide for governments on child-focused disaster risk reduction, as well as a child-safety index (a child-focused vulnerability analysis tool) will be produced to support capacity-building with national authorities.
As the last quarter of the year is the period most typically prone to hurricanes and heavy rains that cause flooding and heavy damage, TACRO will focus on supporting Country Offices in areas recently affected by emergencies or disasters, with response interventions or, where the national response systems demonstrate an adequate capacity, with post-emergency activities to promote DRR and preparedness. TACRO will also work to support resilience-building in affected communities and support current efforts developed by local authorities, mainly in the Education sector or in other fields where Country Offices identify particular needs.
To promote the development of South–South and horizontal cooperation strategies, TACRO will foster collaboration on programmatic and operational areas among country offices, partners and governments both inside and outside the region. The regional office will also work with the private sector to identify strategies in support of emergency preparedness and response.
UNICEF funding requirements for 2013
TACRO’s humanitarian strategy must be flexible enough to support preparedness and response in a range of countries, including those with a very low response capacity and a high demand for operational and programmatic assistance, as well as a rising number of upper-middle-income countries with an adequate capacity, requiring specific DRR and resilience building interventions and more targeted assistance in response. The Regional Office is appealing for US$2,850,000 to maintain this support to Country Offices while facilitating better inter-agency cooperation and strengthened disaster risk reduction. Funds may be used for countries in the region that are not included in a separate chapter in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 and that may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals responding to small or medium size emergencies.
1 Risk, Emergency, and Disaster Task Force Inter-Agency Workgroup for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Panama-based inter-agency coordination mechanism.