They're finally figuring it out. An editorial from The Dallas Morning News warns that unless the US launches a major food relief effort to Central America, the country faces a tsunami of refugees fleeing to the US to escape famine.
The swarm of immigrants who came across the border this year, including more than 60,000 unaccompanied minors, could wind up paling in comparison to an immigration crisis looming on the horizon. Famine is a growing concern across Central America because of persistent drought.
...The next wave ...could be driven by a much more formidable force: abject hunger. Central America is in the middle of a serious two-year drought. USAID’s Famine Early Warning System stated in early August that Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are on the verge of a food crisis because of growing, widespread crop failures from scant rainfall. In some areas, rainfall is 50 percent to 75 percent below average.
The drought also is affecting Costa Rica and Panama. Panama Canal operations are on the verge of being curtailed because of declining levels on the freshwater lake that comprises the bulk of the canal route.
Elsewhere, farm output is expected to drop as much as 70 percent. Prices for staple foods like maize and beans are escalating. A coffee bean blight is adding to economic woes. Thousands of Central Americans who rely on subsistence farming no longer know where their meals will come from. The famine report warns that the need for food could cause residents to pack up and leave.
“This situation is particularly critical in northern Nicaragua, where the drought has had the greatest impact,” the famine report says. “These factors will force households in the areas of concern to implement atypical response strategies including atypical migration and sale of household assets.”
The editorial argues for the use of food aid to relieve famine and as an incentive for Central Americans to stay put.