Water, Food, and Migration: Airlink’s Response to the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis on World Food Day

Water, Food, and Migration: Airlink’s Response to the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis on World Food Day

World Food Day brings together the humanitarian community to promote awareness and action to food insecurity worldwide. 

This year’s theme is ‘Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind’. World Food Day provides an opportunity for the humanitarian community to reflect on the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, and food scarcity that persist in regions around the world. In 2023, Airlink-supported programs have reached over 1,348,000 people across the world with food aid. On World Food Day, Airlink is highlighting our efforts in response to the U.S.-Mexico Border crisis and shedding light on the critical role of food and water crises as significant factors driving migration. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, water is an integral part of life and is the key to producing our food. Nearly half of the world’s population lives in households that depend on agrifood systems for their livelihoods. Food security is intrinsically tied to water availability and management. 

Water and food scarcity play a pivotal role in fueling the ongoing U.S-Mexico border crisis.

A significant percentage of migrants coming to the US are from areas of Central America’s Dry Corridor, which includes parts of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The region is characterized by prolonged drought and agricultural challenges that have left communities grappling with food insecurity and economic instability.  As these crises worsen, individuals and families who are unable to meet their basic economic needs are driven to seek refuge and opportunities, making the difficult journey to the United States in search of better opportunities and security. Over the last few years, there has been a sustained increase in the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. This influx has presented significant challenges to border cities, which have been struggling to adequately address the diverse and pressing needs of refugees and migrants. The migrant crises have overwhelmed local resources and infrastructure, burdening social services, healthcare facilities, and housing centers, as well as complicating the provision of legal and humanitarian support.

In addition to supporting programs that address environmental disasters in Latin America,  Airlink has been partnering with NGOs responding at the border since 2019, with a greater uptick in assistance over the last two years. 

Over the last year, Airlink has provided flights for 66 responders from NGO partners:

Refugee Health Alliance is providing medical assistance, including general and pediatric care, mental health care, LGBTQIA+ care, and prenatal and midwifery care to migrants, refugees, and other displaced groups in Tijuana and Reynosa. 

Haitian Bridge Alliance is working on both the U.S. and Mexico sides of the border to help migrants access food, water, internet, and legal services. Their team also partners with other local organizations to help migrants access flights to their final destination and temporary shelter. 

Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action provides trauma-informed medical response to migrants at the border. This includes emergency medicine, family practice, OBGYN, and pediatrics. 

Solidarity Engineering has been active at the border since 2020, providing WASH services and improving infrastructure in the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros.

Picture of Ashley Bustillo

Ashley Bustillo

As Airlink’s Humanitarian Programs Associate, Ashley supports Airlink’s emergency response activities including the mobilization of personnel for NGO partners.

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