Guatemala is a country of contrasts: flooding and drought, wealth and poverty, agricultural exports and food shortages.
Despite being considered a middle income country, and the fifth largest exporter of coffee and sugar in the world, many people in Guatemala are suffering horrific poverty.
Half of all children under five are malnourished, which permanently affects physical and mental development. The levels of maternal mortality are among the highest in the region and haven’t dropped in the last 15 years.
Climate and environment
Guatemala is at risk from floods, storms and hurricanes for six months of the year. The UN’s climate change panel has warned that storms will get more frequent and more intense.
In addition, a central swath of land called the dry corridor suffers from droughts which cause food shortages. Deforestation, slash and burn agriculture and farming methods on plantations make matters worse for poor communities.
Guatemala has very high levels of crime and gang violence which affect security and the rule of law. Women and young people are even more vulnerable because of gender-based violence and the exclusion of young people. Both groups face high unemployment and poor access to healthcare, education and culture.