Country facts

  • Population: 6.3 million
  • People internally displaced by crisis: 77,000+ in 2022
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 125 of 191

IRC response

  • Civil War Response: 1984 to 1992
  • Humanitarian Response: 2018 to date

El Salvador crisis briefing

Despite the decrease of violence and insecurity in El Salvador since March 2022, there are 1.1 million people in urgent need of aid. Central America is already experiencing regular natural disasters and shocks due to climate change. Food insecurity, climate shocks, lack of economic opportunities and violence are push factors for displacement from El Salvador. The IRC is supporting individuals and families in need of humanitarian aid and at high risk of displacement with access to critical information and services, cash relief, and creation of safe spaces.


What caused the current crisis in El Salvador?

El Salvador has been marked decades of violence, impunity, frequent and worsening natural disasters, and the negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have had on the economy. Food prices continue to rise and the economy has not recovered from the years of violence.

What are the main humanitarian challenges in El Salvador?

Salvadoran people face different humanitarian challenges as a result of climate shocks, food insecurity, and economic crisis. Women, children and the LGBTQ+ community are the ones most at risk, especially of gender-based violence.

How does the IRC help in El Salvador?

Today, the IRC and its partners serve individuals and families in  need of aid and at increased risk of displacement. We support internally displaced people; returnees; and women, girls, youth, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are survivors of gender-based violence. Our programs in El Salvador cover:

  • Protection and empowerment. The IRC supports gender-based violence survivors through case management and the creation of specialty safe spaces, through which people can be referred to vital services, such as economic support, legal orientation, health care, education, childcare and more. The response also focuses on child protection by offering caregivers in violent contexts support and effective services that raise awareness, as well as case management for children who experience family separation, violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.
  • Verified and critical information in times of crisis. Through CuéntaNos, the IRC promotes access to reliable information and mapping of trustworthy service providers. CuéntaNos—part of the global Signpost project and powered by Zendesk —is an online information platform created by IRC that leverages social media to offer access to information, a map of verified services, and direct referrals via a helpline for persons in crisis.
  • Economic recovery and development. Through multipurpose cash assistance, the IRC supports families in needs to help them cover their most immediate needs, such as food and shelter.
  • Education. The IRC implements Research in Education for Transformative Opportunities (RETO), a USAID-funded project, is identifying and transforming violence prevention evidence into actionable and scalable methodologies for key education stakeholders.


What still needs to be done?

While international donors have increased funding for Central America’s protracted humanitarian crises, longer term and more investment is needed to adequately address the root drivers of displacement in the Northern Central America countries—including El Salvador—and to respond to the immediate needs that people are experiencing.

The IRC will continue to respond across the arc of the crisis and support uprooted people by expanding and scaling-up programs to deliver services and humanitarian assistance to those on the move, refugees, asylum-seekers, and returnees.

Rescue stories

El Salvador does not allow people like us: either you are a man or you are a woman. My dream upon arriving in the United States is to find a decent job, to have an income to help my parents.
Fernanda poses for a photo wearing a striped shirt and carrying a purse
At 27 years old, Fernanda Levin was forced to leave behind her parents, siblings and home simply so that she could safely be herself.
Meet Fernanda
El Salvador