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: Double your donation with the help of Metro Parent
First of all, I want to thank everyone who has donated to support Mercy Corps' response to the Haiti earthquake. Mercy Corps' staff on the ground are working as fast as possible to get aid to those in need.
Haiti: Residents begin recovering their possessions (8 photos)
Survivors of the earthquake begin to dig their personal possessions out from the rubble. Dead bodies still remain in the rubble.
Haiti: Organizing a food distribution
I’m exhausted tonight – but triumphant! After running around all day between the general hospital and the UN compound, we’ve succeeded in organizing a distribution of food to the hospital’s patients and their families Wednesday morning.
Haiti: Helping Haiti's kids cope
Watching news coverage and listening to our team on the ground in Port-au-Prince, one heartbreaking fact keeps jumping out at me: Children are at the center of tragedy again.
Haiti: A conversation with Bill Holbrook
I spoke this afternoon with Bill Holbrook, Mercy Corps' newly appointed country director for Haiti, who leaves tomorrow for Haiti from his home in Maryland. He'll work in conjunction with our growing emergency-response team, which has been in country for nearly a week.
Haiti: We met our Western Union Foundation challenge
Over the holiday weekend, the Western Union Foundation gave us $50,000 to match donations to our Haiti Earthquake Fund. We finished the challenge on Martin Luther King Day.
Haiti: Spontaneous displacement camps (8 photos)
Five days after the earthquake the survivors of the quake are displaced from their homes and living in open public areas, such as parks, or in vacant lots and unused space around the city.
Haiti: Dire conditions in spontaneous Port-au-Prince camp
Today I went to an open-air camp where probably 1,000 people were living along a gravel road. They were staying out in the open and had rescued very few possessions from the rubble of their homes — maybe a blanket, one woman had a mirror, one man had a Bible ... they had incredibly little.
Haiti: Video: Getting safe drinking water to Haiti
Scarcity of safe drinking water is one of the largest challenges in post-earthquake Haiti. Through a partnership with the water treatment and transport leader ITT, we're getting five water-filtration devices to supply as many as 25,000 people with clean water.
Haiti: Why it's better to donate cash than canned goods