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: From relief to recovery: Images from two years in Haiti
Haiti: Helping small business owners succeed
Two years after the devastating earthquake, small businesses are more crucial for Haiti’s economy than ever before.
Haiti: Cholera's ever-present threat
Haiti: Ensuring the water is clean
Mercy Corps is distributing vouchers for clean water, checking water quality and distributing soap in Port-au-Prince camps.
Haiti: Christmas trees, glitter and giggles
In a small classroom on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, 16 children are hard at work on today's art therapy project: create and decorate paper Christmas trees!
Haiti: Insuring women-owned businesses against natural disaster
I have been in Haiti for a mere 36 hours and have already waded through a river, trekked through rice fields, climbed mountains and stumbled upon a buzzing open market in a remote village in the Central Plateau.
Haiti: 'Soccer for Life' kicks off on World AIDS Day
December 1st is World AIDS Day. This year, Mercy Corps and Partners In Health are joining forces in Haiti to launch Foutbol pou Lavi — Soccer for Life — a program designed to harness the power of soccer to stop the spread of HIV.
Haiti: Art therapy camp for Port-au-Prince youth
This past August, we took 20 school-age children to a mountainside retreat outside Port-au-Prince for six days of activities designed to heal emotional wounds from the 2010 earthquake.
Haiti: Peace Day in Mirebalais
On September 21, Mercy Corps and Partners In Health teamed up to celebrate International Peace Day in Mirebalais, Haiti.
Haiti: A step forward for some, a step back for others
This was my fifth trip to Haiti.