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: How we’ll help transform Haiti
In the late afternoon of January 12, 2010, Haiti had a heart attack when an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince — the country’s political, cultural and financial capital.
Haiti: Protecting survivors from the rain
Haiti: Pay day
Last Friday was pay day. After putting in five days of work clearing debris and repairing basic infrastructure, 119 participants in Mercy Corps’ cash-for-work program here in Port-au-Prince patiently lined up at Impasse Dorcé and waited their turn to get paid.
Haiti: Video: Helping Haiti's children laugh, play and sing again
Today I visited a daycare where Mercy Corps' Comfort for Kids program is helping dozens of young earthquake survivors to celebrate their lives and friends again. Here's a video I took that shows just how amazing the spirit of these games and this music really is.
Haiti: The Haitian Mr. Bean
This is Joseph Moїse. He’s 34 years old and a native of Pétionville. Before the earthquake he was a teacher and now he’s a cash-for-work participant with Mercy Corps — but what he really wants to do is direct.
Haiti: Their teacher went to Haiti…and now they want to help
Sara Logue was a high school student when she visited Haiti in 2003. Now a fifth grade teacher at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School in Forest Grove, Oregon, she’s making sure her students are connected with the world beyond the walls of the school.
Haiti: Portlanders: Combine your love for soccer and Haiti tonight
If you're a soccer fan in Portland and want to help Haiti rebuild at the same time, this post is for you! Tonight, the Portland Timbers face off against the University of Portland men's soccer team on the University's Merlo Field at 7 p.m.
Haiti: Beginning again with hope and faith
Haiti: Working together to help Haiti's children
Haiti: Second graders rally around Haitian classmate
Shania Dormezil, a second grader at Sacramento Elementary, was born here in the United States. Her sister, fourth grader Fabiola, was about three years old when the family immigrated from Haiti, and her brother, fifth grader Kevin, was about four.