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
All stories about Haiti
Haiti: Working to address Haitians' basic needs
The camps. Today, when you hear about Haiti, the camps are probably among the first images that come to mind. For many of us, they have become the central symbol of loss and suffering in this country. Unfortunately for hundreds of thousands in Port-au-Prince, the camps are also home.
Haiti: Helping teachers and kids recover in Port-au-Prince
In the car with Sandrine and Magdala, two of our talented trainers in Comfort for Kids, our program designed to teach adults ways to help address the post-earthquake psychosocial needs of children. We’re on our way to the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
Haiti: En route to Port-au-Prince
This afternoon I left a sunny, serene Portland, Oregon. At the ticket counter, when asked my final destination, Port-au-Prince sounded strange coming from my mouth. But here I am, on segment two of my journey, on a plane from Los Angeles to Miami.
Haiti: A meeting of leaders for recovery in Haiti
Last week Mercy Corps hosted the Haitian Minister of Tourism, Patrick Delatour, in Washington, DC to spur thinking about how the government, private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can work together to promote recovery in Haiti.
Haiti: Why we should give more
Today in New York, donors will be asked to provide $11.5 billion to help Haiti recover from the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. Since the U.S. government has already provided more than $700 million in assistance — a number that will likely rise — some might ask: Why should we give more?
Haiti: Everyday experts
Haiti: Training to help children heal — a healing process in itself
I’m Fabiola, a part of Mercy Corps Haiti’s staff of nationals, hired as the communication officer about three weeks ago. Needless to say, keeping up with Mercy Corps’ energy and momentum has been challenging but mostly fun and almost always rewarding.
Haiti: Haiti, nine weeks after the earthquake — what happens next
Week 9 post-earthquake: Mercy Corps, like our partners and peers, has been focused on emergency response. We’ve been busy with distributions, Comfort for Kids, water and sanitation provision, and more.
Haiti: Unleashing the Haitian enterprising spirit
On my recent trip to Haiti, I was filled first with despair and then hope. Despair for the overwhelming human and physical destruction. Hope because of the quiet strength, resilience, and determination of the Haitian people.
Haiti: The Next Steps to Haiti's Recovery
In the devastated but proud neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, thousands of people have organized into local committees to help manage, guide and pitch in for what needs to be done in their communities. They are Mercy Corps' partners in the critical work of recovery and rebuilding.