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
Haiti: Mercy Corps and Haiti get the "Colbert Bump"
Haiti: We met our Nike challenge!
Yesterday, Nike generously offered us $25,000 to match donations to our Haiti Earthquake Fund. We met this match in record time — thanks to all who contributed!
Haiti: Getting water to survivors
Haiti: Lighting a candle for Haiti
The crowd grew. Candles lit children's faces. A Haitian-American woman stood up and started to to talk about the earthquake. She lamented that she had not been able to contact her family and had no idea if any of them were alive. She choked up, and couldn’t continue as grief overwhelmed her.
Haiti: Meet our Haiti response team
The first members of our emergency-response team are headed to the quake zone, where they'll quickly assess needs and begin delivering relief to affected families.
Haiti: Ready to lead
There just aren’t that many people as qualified to lead an emergency response team as Richard Jacquot. And today, Mercy Corps is counting on him to lead our disaster relief and recovery efforts in earthquake-struck Haiti.
Haiti: Satellite images of the destruction
Here are three satellite images that detail the scale of the destruction in Port-au-Prince. The images include the National Palace, Downtown Port-au-Prince and Sylvio Cator Stadium.
Haiti: Humanitarian veteran Jenny Vaughan prepares to depart for Haiti
One of our Boston-based staff, Jenny Vaughan, is headed to Haiti first thing Thursday morning as part of Mercy Corps' earthquake response team. Jenny has been with Mercy Corps for two years and is currently working with our Conflict Management program.
Haiti: Scrambling to help Haiti
I've been on the phone for most of the last three hours figuring out the best way we can respond to the news in Haiti.