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: 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.
Haiti: Reforesting Haiti
Trees have all but disappeared in Haiti; today, less than 2% of the land is forested. Find out how we're helping communities bring their mountains back to life.
Haiti: What does resilience look like?
Discussions at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting this week will focus on how to better prepare for and minimize disasters of the future. In Haiti, we've been investing in communities to do just that.
Haiti: Three years later, investing in the long-term
Since the January 2010 earthquake, Mercy Corps has reached more than 1.6 million people with lifesaving assistance. Now, we're investing in youth, small business owners and rural communities to build back stronger.
Haiti: Building back stronger
Through programs that empower young people, support entrepreneurs, and protect valuable natural resources, Haitians are finding new reasons to hope.
Haiti: Funds will help thousands rebuild after Sandy
While residents in the northeastern U.S. begin the recovery after Superstorm Sandy, our teams in Haiti continue a rapid assessment of the massive destruction it caused there over the weekend.
Haiti: Welcoming Haitian youth soccer coaches
This week, Mercy Corps welcomes 14 youth soccer coaches from Haiti to our offices and our community.
Haiti: Inside microinsurance in Haiti
As Tropical Storm Isaac hit Haiti in late August, all eyes were watching to see whether the country would be overwhelmed by the latest storm.
Haiti: Giving kids a sporting chance
Cité Soleil is full of a lot of things, but hope is not one of them.
Haiti: Helping Kids Heal: Emmanuella's story
The 2010 earthquake was just the first tragedy to strike Emmanuella's young life. Amid violence and uncertainty, she's found comfort and confidence on the soccer field.