HIAS Warns Humanitarian Funding in Latin America in Decline Amid Escalating Crisis

PANAMA CITY — As 2023 draws to a close with a growing number of people displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, HIAS warns that the region is grappling with a decline in funding to meet these challenges — with support at its lowest level in recent years. The organization calls for swift and adaptive responses from the international community to continue meeting the growing needs of displaced people.

“The current funding landscape, including support from the U.S., poses a critical threat to the ability to address the escalating needs in the region,” said Cristina Garcia, HIAS’ Senior Vice President for the LAC region. “The repercussions of these cutbacks are felt acutely, particularly among the vulnerable populations we strive to support, exacerbating their already dire circumstances.”

In 2023, funding requirements in the LAC region have surged to almost US$4 billion. However, only 29% of the required funds have been met on average so far, falling behind the global average. This marks a 20% decrease compared to the previous year.

This impact is especially pronounced in Honduras and among Venezuelan refugees and migrants in 17 LAC countries. Levels of funding received so far in 2023 for these responses stand at 15% and 20% respectively, leading to a concerning reduction in delivering timely and effective assistance to those in need.

Due to these constraints, HIAS has undergone a challenging downscaling process for certain operations across various locations in the region, leading to the reallocation of funds to sustain operational objectives. “This has compelled us to make difficult decisions and prioritize the most vulnerable, acknowledging that some groups in need have been left without essential support,” Garcia said.

The absence of a coordinated plan for the response to mixed movements of people across the region is equally alarming, with a lack of available information to comprehend how funding is being channeled, held accountable, and monitored.

“As a humanitarian organization dedicated to protecting the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcibly displaced people around the world,” Garcia said, “we call upon the international community to redouble efforts in addressing these crises, recognizing that sustained and flexible funding is essential to making a meaningful impact on the lives of the millions of people impacted in the region.”

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