According to the September – October 2015 edition of the “Humanitarian Bulletin Latin America and Caribbean” which is published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 13.2 million people have been affected by disasters from January to October 2015 in Latin America and the Caribbean. This figure is considerably larger than the one reported by OCHA for this region in 2014 (11.4 million people).
The publication identifies drought as a major disaster, affecting roughly 6.6 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean. Epidemics like dengue, chikungunya and cholera affected more than 3.5 million people, almost twice as much as what was reported by OCHA a year ago. Other frequent hazards that affected people in these regions included excessive rains, floods, cold waves and other environmental phenomena.
In this issue OCHA further warned about an escalation of these figures due to the manifestation of a strong episode of El Niño this and next year. The agency therefore stressed that “preparedness efforts must remain a priority to reduce impacts and humanitarian needs.”
The report emphasized the need for new ways to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected, to be addressed during the first World Humanitarian Summit, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey from 23 to 24 May 2016.