Many of Guatemala's indigenous suffer from what experts call "seasonal hunger" between June and September when the previous harvest is depleted and government assistance is necessary to feed one million people before new crops come in, a situation that has been exacerbated by the recent drought. Some walk for hours to get water, and farmers say there hasn't been enough rain in four years in what is known as Central America's "Corredor Seco" (Dry Corridor) to raise a decent crop of corn and beans.
A new report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization - Drought Characteristics and Management in the Caribbean - warns that the Caribbean faces significant challenges from drought. Most Caribbean agriculture is rain-fed, making small-scale, family farmers particularly vulnerable.
After months of drought, reservoirs in Artimisa, Cuba are benefiting from recent rains, though it's not enough, according to the director of the province's hydraulic entity. As of June 9, three of fourteen reservoirs reported over 95 percent capacity with the remainder at between 50 and 60 percent.
Severe to exceptional water deficits are forecast to persist on the Baja Peninsula through August as seen in the 3-month maps below. Moderate to extreme deficits are forecast during this period for the southern Gulf of Mexico including the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and eastern Chiapas. Mostly moderate surpluses are expected through the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in northwestern Mexico, and exceptional surpluses are forecast in northeastern Coahuila near the Texas border. In Central America deficits are forecast in Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador. In the Caribbean deficits are forecast on Dominica, primarily in Haiti; and also in western Puerto Rico.
From September through November deficits in Baja are forecast to diminish, while moderate deficits are expected to persist around the Gulf of Mexico and to emerge in much of the rest of southern Mexico. Deficits are also expected in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Deficits are forecast to persist in Haiti and emerge in eastern Jamaica. A similar pattern is forecast for December through February. (It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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