In the three years since large-scale protests in their country triggered a complex social and political crisis, 108,000 Nicaraguans have been forced to flee their country since 2018, with 85,000 of them seeking refuge in Costa Rica.
“While the needs of the Nicaraguans continue to grow, the world’s attention span seems to shorten,” said Milton Moreno, UNHCR Representative in Costa Rica. ”Without a prompt and adequate response, we risk yet another situation of completely preventable and unnecessary suffering.”
Assessments in the country showed that pandemic-related restrictions have forced many Nicaraguan refugees and asylum-seekers to go hungry, eating only once a day or sometimes not at all. Unemployment has soared, leading many to borrow money or work informally in exchange for food.
However, funding for the response is falling short. UNHCR’s operation in Costa Rica has received only 11 per cent of the US$32 million needed to help refugees meet their most basic needs and support the authorities to expedite processing of asylum claims.
“Costa Rica and UNHCR cannot address these challenges alone. We call on the international community to help us help the refugees,” added Moreno.