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: 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.
Haiti: Providing a lifeline
Haiti: Emergency relief to Port-au-Prince camps
Tents fill every open space in Port-au-Prince: public parks, empty lots, even traffic medians. For thousands of earthquake survivors, these crowded camps are the only housing option.
Haiti: A youthful vision for a new Haiti
Harnessing the energy of young people is instrumental in rebuilding a stronger Haiti. Our youth programs put that belief into action by addressing young people’s unique psychosocial needs and investing in their development.
Haiti: A new way to deliver water
Haiti: H is for Haiti! Mercy Corps partners with Sesame Workshop to help Haiti's children
Haiti: Our earthquake work in Haiti
Mercy Corps continues to provide emergency relief to families living in camps in Port-au-Prince, including water, sanitation, psychosocial support and temporary income through cash-for-work.
Haiti: The art of youth development
I came to Haiti as someone who believes in seeing challenges — such as a conflict or natural disaster — as opportunities to identify and leverage large-scale social transformation.
Haiti: In the lakou, under a mango tree
Outside of the town of Mirebalais, in Haiti's Central Plateau, we visit the small community of Sarazin. We are here to do a community mobilization — the first step in engaging a community in a cash-for-work project.
Haiti: Rural scenes of Haiti's Central Plateau