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: What I brought back from Haiti
I returned from Haiti over the weekend and now — days later — sit here thinking about what I experienced there. It was the worst disaster I’ve ever seen. It was the hardest place I’ve ever traveled; nowhere else even comes close.
Haiti: Movie theater/pub and neighborhood grocer raise $3000 for Haiti
Haiti: Keeping connected
I arrived in Haiti yesterday to help our field teams with their IT challenges so they can better deliver aid and recovery programs.
Haiti: Video: Three videos from food delivery to a Haitian hospital
Haiti: Five-year-old gives up his secret stash
Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of short stories about inspiring and colorful donor contributions, efforts and events — both here in the Pacific Northwest and across the country.
Haiti: A community's enthusiasm to heal their children
Today was my first day in Haiti. It’s an experience to arrive here: I came on a small plane with five other aid workers, two of them were Mercy Corps colleagues.
Haiti: Sous les belles étoiles
Today, I heard one of the most beautiful and most heartbreaking things of my life. It’s something I’ll always carry with me — and perhaps the one phrase I’ll attach to my time in Haiti.
Haiti: Big band aids, big heart
Amiri Horn could well be the youngest fundraiser in Mercy Corps’ history. Just three and a half, he saw the devastation in Haiti on the news and knew right away he wanted to help.
Haiti: Comforting kids in Haiti
Trying to get to Port-Au-Prince is no easy task. After being bumped and having another flight cancelled from Santo Domingo, I finally made it to ground zero, albeit a day later than planned. My concerns and trepidation about what I would encounter were validated as soon as I landed.
Haiti: Rubble, lines and food
Two weeks after the earthquake, the streets of Port-au-Prince are filled with rubble, lines and food. All of these things are related.