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: Campaigning for a new Haiti
Campaigning is starting to get underway in Haiti, two months before the Presidential election scheduled on November 28.
Haiti: Peace Day in Haiti
For the past few years, Mercy Corps has been taking part in a campaign to raise awareness of the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21, through sports activities.
Haiti: It's a privilege to own a tap-tap!
It's been two months since I was last in Haiti.
Haiti: A psychologist's perspective on Port-au-Prince
Haiti: What "Back to School" will mean for kids in Haiti
Haiti: Bringing food to Haiti's hungry families
Families in Haiti’s Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite have been going hungry – not because food is not available, but because they cannot afford it.
Haiti: Taking lessons learned from Nepal to Haiti
In late April of this year, fresh on the job managing Mercy Corps’ cash-for-work program in Port-au-Prince, Kristina Carvonis was asked to go to Nepal.
Haiti: Building capacity in Haiti, one community at a time
"Haiti needs everything," declared Mark L. Schneider, senior vice president of the nonprofit International Crisis Group, during a visit to the Mercy Corps Action Center in Portland last month.
Haiti: Moving forward in Haiti
Haiti: Voices of hope and resolve
One of the first groups that Mercy Corps assisted in the Central Plateau was displaced students who left Port-au-Prince after their universities collapsed.