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: Lessons from Haiti
Yesterday I left Port-au-Prince after spending a few days with the Mercy Corps team. My next stop is a world away: The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The two places couldn’t be more different, but even in Davos, Haiti is front-and-center in people’s minds.
Haiti: Fundraiser of the day: Big-A** Sandwich Shop
Editor's note: This is the first of a 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: The latest on our response
Here's the latest update on our work in Haiti: Water and sanitation assessments continue in various badly affected neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince. Sanitation, including in the General Hospital, appears to be a particularly pressing and neglected need.
Haiti: Our home office in Haiti
Haiti: Sudden encounters, impromptu conversations lead to plans to save lives
Haiti: Talking to NBC
Yesterday I talked to NBC Nightly News correspondent Mike Taibbi about the challenges of delivering aid in post-quake Haiti. Click here to watch.
Haiti: Frustration and elation in Port-au-Prince
Haiti: Thursday in Port-au-Prince
News and observations from today in Port-au-Prince:
Haiti: Healing the emotional wounds of Haiti's children
Haiti: Thursday morning in Santo Domingo
Red-eye travel is onerous in most any circumstance. On my way to Haiti, I almost did it two nights in a row. And, despite a few short hours of sleep, this Thursday morning — a day and a half after I left home — feels like the continuation of one long day.