Imagine leaving your home behind because the only option for your family is starvation. This is the reality of Benson and many other Haitians, who left the country due to the economic and socio-political crisis.
Nothing stopped him; he felt desperate and needed to provide for his family. Benson put himself at sea, on a rickety boat that never made it to the dreamed destination. They ended stranded in the middle of the ocean with no fuel.
He was sent back to Cuba and then to Haiti. Confused after a long ordeal, he needed support and guidance to get home safely. Thanks to EU funding, he received assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to find his way back.
Haitians kept fleeing their island nation even at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the main borders were closed, they did so through informal routes. They had to put their own lives in peril, often ending up as undocumented migrants on foreign soil risking deportation.
Since 2019, the EU financed IOM to support Haitian migrants and deportees with €7.85 million in humanitarian funding.
More than 1.2 million Haitians migrants scattered across the world – mainly in the United States of America, Canada, France, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
Story by Daniele Pagani, Regional Information Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
Publication date: 17/12/2021