The January 2010 earthquake dealt a tragic blow to a country already suffering from poverty.
In the years since the earthquake, Haiti has continued to suffer from natural disasters and political upheaval. A country ranked amongst the most affected by natural disasters, Haiti regularly deals with devastating droughts, floods and hurricanes. Category 4 Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 caused devastation to the south of the country just one harvest cycle after a three-year drought.
With natural disasters coming one right after another, many families are still struggling to rebuild and have no means to support themselves.
- Haiti is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, with more than 90 percent of the population at risk.
- Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. About six in 10 people are living in poverty.
- 2.7 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance, including 1.5 million who are at risk of hunger.
In spite of daily challenges to access basic needs like water and electricity, Haitians are strong, motivated and creative. And with a new government in place, there is opportunity for the country to re-focus on policies and programs that can address some of the fundamental human needs and capitalize on the Haitian spirit.
Mercy Corps’ approach to humanitarian response not only includes meeting urgent needs after emergencies, but also building capacity to withstand future disasters and minimizing risk to homes and communities. Key activities have included:
- Disaster preparedness: Training local governments and civil society organizations to better identify risk and manage emergency response needs
- Emergency response: Provided shelter repair kits, cash assistance and restoration of access to water supplies
- Agriculture & Food: Supplying farmer associations with seeds and silos to support restoration of agriculture after natural disasters and establishment of seed banks as insurance against future droughts or hurricanes
Mercy Corps also focuses on building resilience in vulnerable communities. In particular, Mercy Corps has been implementing activities in the following areas:
- Economic opportunity: Increasing incomes for vulnerable families and young people by helping them start businesses, get vocational training, access savings and loan associations, and connect with larger markets for their products
- Young people: Helping young people living in urban areas to improve their self-esteem, set personal goals and build employment and entrepreneurship skills and contribute to the reduction of violence and conflict in their neighborhoods
- Environment & food security: Improving the long-term income generation potential of land by creating incentives for people to practice crop diversification, land rehabilitation and conservation
provided shelter assistance to more than 1,500 families
provided cash assistance to more than 20,000 households
increased access to water for more than 3,000 households
placed 271 young people in vocational training centers
distributed seeds to 2,500 households
trained 100 farmers to teach others conservation techniques
Haiti: One year after Hurricane Matthew, seeds of hope return
One year after Hurricane Matthew devastated the island nation, the people of Haiti are rebuilding their livelihoods.
Haiti: Our response to Hurricane Matthew
We are working to help meet urgent needs and lay the groundwork for recovery after Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. Learn about our response.
Haiti: From the field: How we're reaching hard-hit families after Hurricane Matthew
Our team is on the ground rushing emergency supplies to hurricane survivors in the hard-hit southern peninsula. Despite extensive damage to roads and bridges, learn how we're getting to those who need our help the most.
Haiti: Update: Preparing to meet emergency needs after Hurricane Matthew
As the impact of the hurricane becomes clearer, our team is preparing a response to help meet urgent needs and lay the groundwork for recovery.
Haiti: Update: On the ground assessing Hurricane Matthew damage
Out teams in Haiti are out in communities today working to better understand the extent of damage and needs following Hurricane Matthew. Read our latest statement.
Haiti: Update: Preparing to respond as Hurricane Matthew makes landfall
As Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in Haiti, Mercy Corps is preparing to respond to the urgent needs of people in the hardest-hit areas. Read our latest statement.
Haiti: 5 years after quake: Journey from relief to recovery
Our Country Director reflects on the challenges Haitian communities have overcome since 2010 and what the future holds.
Haiti: Rebuilding mountains one garden at a time
Rapid deforestation has nearly destroyed Haiti's natural resources. How farmers are repairing the land — and earning higher incomes.
Haiti: Growing businesses in Haiti's toughest neighborhoods
Florye's almost lost her small upholstery business in the Haiti earthquake. Today, she and other entrepreneurs are revitalizing the local economy.
Haiti: Women entrepreneurs creating new opportunities
In Port-au-Prince, still recovering from the 2010 earthquake, financial stability is elusive. But tenacious women like Bilha believe in a better future.