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: Losing everything, then finding something
Last year was one of a kind. It changed the lives of many people, including mine.
Haiti: The challenges of clean water and sanitation in Haiti
Haiti: Haiti, nearly one year later
January 12 — which is only a few days away — marks the end of one of the hardest years that Haitians have known in a long, long time. It also marks that single day of tragedy when a 7.0-magnitude quake killed 230,000 and destroyed Port-au-Prince.
Haiti: The power of play
Herma Pierre, 13, is beating the odds. She survived the earthquake. And she’s growing up in Port-au-Prince’s toughest slum. Six years ago, Cité Soleil was a war zone. Violence has subsided in recent years, but for girls like Herma, guns and gangs still pose a serious threat.
Haiti: Introducing Haiti's first mobile wallet
Mercy Corps has teamed up with mobile operator Voilà and Haitian bank Unibank to introduce Haiti's first "mobile wallet," a cellphone account that can store savings and work like a debit card.
Haiti: Help for Haiti's homeless
After his house collapsed in the earthquake, Junior Moise, 30, had no better option than to move his wife and daughter to a tent camp near Frere Road in Port-au-Prince.
Haiti: Responding to cholera
Haiti: Mobile money in Haiti
Around 6:30 on Friday morning, I left Port-au-Prince with Nick Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn and their two teenage kids to Saint Marc, a seaside city about a two and a half hour drive north of the capital, to check out Mercy Corps' use of mobile phones to deliver assistance to earthquake-affected famili
Haiti: Celebrating the launch of mobile money in Haiti
Mercy Corps was recognized on Monday in a ceremony to announce the launch of T-cash, the Haitian mobile money service from telecom operator Voilà and Haitian bank Unibank.
Haiti: Protests against election results shut down Haiti's capital
Today is Day Two of Port-au-Prince on lock-down: businesses closed, an unsettling quiet across the usually ruckus city, broken at intervals by the sounds of a single motorcycle or a UN armored vehicle going down our street.