The horrific violence gripping El Salvador has contributed to a humanitarian crisis that has forced hundreds of thousands of citizens to flee their homes. But the Salvadoran government has not fully recognized the problem of internal displacement and has failed to provide solutions.
In 2015, 324,000 people were displaced by crime and violence in El Salvador, up from 280,000 displaced in 2014. This type of “exodus,” as it has been described by civil society organizations, is typically led by women in the community and “constitutes a break in the social fabric, an uprooting of the community marked by a disruption in the education of children and youth.”
Making matters worse, the alarming level of displacement shows no signs of slowing in 2016. In fact, the International Rescue Committee included El Salvador in its “Crisis Watch List for 2016” which highlights countries where escalating violence and insecurity will likely continue fueling displacement.
Gangs and other criminal organizations are by far the main violent actors causing internal displacement, according to cases documented between August 2014 and December 2015 by the Civil Society Roundtable Against Forced Displacement, as seen in the chart below: