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: Supporting Haiti's children
Haiti: It’s Devin’s birthday….but Haiti gets the presents
Devin Greene is just 7 years old, but the first-grader at Ainsworth Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, knew exactly what he wanted for his birthday: lots of presents — for Haiti.
Haiti: Making the most of what we can get
We're fortunate to have access to lots of low-end electronic equipment here in Haiti. Buildings aren't widely equipped with network cables, so wireless is key to making things work.
Haiti: Meeting with Haiti's First Lady
Haiti: Watching Jet Li in Haiti
The small town of Mirebalais has been overrun by 16,000 people who fled Port-au-Prince, one hour to the south, after the January 12 earthquake. This out-migration has more than doubled the size of Mirebalais, further straining the resources of an already dirt-poor town.
Haiti: Displaced and uncertain
One million people are displaced by the earthquake. There are tent encampments throughout the city. In fact, now every open space is now filled with tents — most often just plastic or sheets on poles.
Haiti: What the Haitian people still have
It has meant a lot to me to be back here in Haiti. I had spent some time here 15 years ago and just fell in love with the culture, people, and their artistic and spiritual life.
Haiti: Find Mercy Corps in Haiti on Google Maps
Google updated their maps on Haiti shortly after the earthquake struck. You can see the destruction and camps all over the city.
Haiti: How can we help people in Haiti? (A short presentation for elementary school kids)
Haiti: Connecting our team in Haiti