Read caption La Sosa in Tegucigalpa is a violent area. Three criminal groups dispute the area control. Due to violent murders, children do not feel safe when they walk to school. The military presence seeks to regain control of the school. Photo: A. Aragon/European Union/ECHO

NRC in North Central America

A new kind of violence

Organised crime and gang violence has created a devastating humanitarian crisis in the North Central America (NCA). The murder rates in Honduras and El Salvador are among the highest in the world.


Humanitarian overview

Displacement caused by general violence and organised criminal gangs affect communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. More than 667,000 people have been displaced within the region. 

Many flee after they receive death threats for refusing to sell their land to criminal gangs, or to keep their children safe from gang recruitment, violence, and sexual abuse. 

The internally displaced people live in slums or informal settlements in big cities that are increasingly controlled by gangs, and lack basic services, education, and income opportunities. 

Most flee to Mexico and the United States, or to Costa Rica and Panama. Many of those fleeing are children and young people - often unaccompanied. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands are deported to their countries, where they require assistance and protection. 

The number of Hondurans and Salvadorians at the U.S. border has steadily risen in recent months, demonstrating that even harsh policies such as family separation are not deterring people from seeking protection and a better life.

NRC's operation

We run operations in two countries in NCA. We work in Honduras, from our two field offices there, and in El Salvador, where we work in partnership with the Norwegian Red Cross and the Salvadorian Red Cross.

People fleeing violence often remain anonymous in fear of reprisals. This makes it difficult for humanitarian organisations, including NRC, to reach them.

NRC EducationEducation

In Honduras, we aim to ensure that children and youth have access to education and safe schools. Our teams:

  • identify out-of-school children and youth, and establish study groups for those who want to continue their education
  • prepare children to resume education activities and also to gain basic skills to remain safe 
  • promote and provide safe education opportunities
  • promote and provide safe education opportunities
  • support local and national institutions to fulfil displaced children’s right to education
  • strengthen the capabilities of local communities, an important step towards safeguarding their rights

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

To protect Hondurans and Salvadorians who had to flee their homes, we:

  • provide information and counselling to displaced people about their rights
  • provide humanitarian assistance to Hondurans and Salvadorians in need of international protection who have been deported back from Mexico and the U.S
  • provide humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs
  • support the governments of Honduras and El Salvador at local and national level to develop legal frameworks or improve practices to protect the rights of the forcibly displaced
  • provide services to ensure access to Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and Housing, Land and Property rights for people in need of international protection in Panama and Costa Rica
NRC is grateful for the generous support from our donors:


  • European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)
  • The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Disaster Preparedness - European Commission (DIPECHO)


Your support will bring relief and hope to an entire region. Displaced persons need our support to ensure a safe place to life. Your support helps us assist people fleeing from Honduras and El Salvador.


Country Director (Based in Colombia)

Christian Visnes


+51 1 3171481