Haiti is a chronically fragile state, highly vulnerable to natural hazards and human-induced disasters. The country is regularly impacted by natural hazards and catastrophes and is also facing an increasing issue with gang violence and socio-political instability.
Gang-related violence has reached unprecedented levels: almost 80% of the capital Port-Au-Prince is under gang control, affecting the lives of 1.5 million people.
5.2 million Haitians need humanitarian aid due to a food crisis and malnutrition, violence, an ongoing migration crisis, cholera epidemic and the impact of natural hazards.
What are the needs?
Haiti has been grappling with a food crisis for the past 5 years. Some 4.9 million people (nearly 47% of the population) are currently facing acutely food insecurity, including 1.3 million living in an emergency situation.
The ongoing clashes between rival gangs in and around Port-au-Prince have created a hostage-like situation for people, making it difficult for them to access basic services. Over 165,000 people had to leave their home to survive, becoming internally displaced.
The extreme levels of violence have also made it challenging for children to access education. Gangs have targeted 72 schools in the first quarter of the academic year, looting school equipment and food items used for school meals. More than 1 in 4 schools has remained closed since October 2022.
In addition, cholera has made its way back into the country. As of June 2023, Haiti recorded at least 50,797 suspected cases and 765 deaths , although these figures could be underestimated due to the collapse of monitoring systems.
Haiti was also hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August 2021, with more than 2,000 people killed. This event is listed among Latin America’s 10 deadliest earthquakes of the last 25 years.
The complex situation has forced many Haitians to leave their country. According to official figures, there are over 1.2 million Haitian migrants across the world (although nonofficial estimations indicate that the figure might be much higher, standing at 3 million). They mainly reside in the United States, Canada, France, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.
According to migration authorities in Panama, as of March 2023, 1 every 5 migrants crossing the dangerous jungle between Panama and Colombia (known as the Darien) is Haitian. In 2022, at least 176,777 Haitians were forcefully repatriated.
How are we helping?
With €490 million allocated since 1994, Haiti is the main recipient of EU humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The EU has provided humanitarian aid to victims of major crises in Haiti, including for the current humanitarian needs resulting from local violence, the effects of the 2021 earthquake, the COVID-19 pandemic, and food shortages and malnutrition in recent years.
Following the floods that afflicted the country in June 2023, ECHO responded by supporting the Haitian Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration to meet immediate needs through the provision of hygiene kits, cooking facilities, drinking water, and the repair of sanitation to reduce the risk of cholera spreading.
So far in 2023, the EU has allocated €18.5 million to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable population. Among its many areas of intervention, the funding aims to:
- ameliorate the consequences of the recent increase in political and gang-related violence as well as forced displacement and survival migration;
- strengthen the capacity of communities to respond to disasters;
- help provide children enrolled in targeted schools with access to quality education in a safe and protected environment;
- support the emergency response to the cholera epidemic currently affecting Haiti;
- improve coordination and security management for the humanitarian community.
To facilitate the delivery of life-saving aid in response to the August 2021 earthquake, the EU deployed 3 Humanitarian Air Bridge operations carrying over 177 tonnes of cargo, which was distributed by humanitarian partners in the country. The EU also coordinated the assistance received from Member States, including a water treatment plant, medical equipment, medicines, and more.
In 2020, the Commission released more than €10 million to help Haiti fight the spread of COVID-19. The funding helped provide health and training equipment, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance and logistical support for transport and surveillance. The EU also launched 2 Humanitarian Air Bridge operations to ensure the mobility of humanitarian personnel and the delivery of vital goods.
After the 2010 earthquake, the EU provided shelter, clean water, healthcare services, food and protection to 5 million people. EU humanitarian assistance of €52.7 million targeting nearly 3 million people also helped tackle the cholera epidemic that followed the earthquake.
Since 1998, the EU has invested around €38 million in its disaster preparedness programme, aiming to put in place early warning systems and rapid response capacities.
This funding aims to strengthen the emergency response through strategic partners working closely with national response bodies against recurring natural hazards. Improving the resilience of the most vulnerable communities to natural and epidemic risks remains a priority.
Last updated: 17/07/2023
Facts & figures
5.2 million people in need of humanitarian aid
4.9 million people are estimated to be acute food insecure while at least 3.5 million Haitians are suffering from multi-dimensional vulnerabilities (September 2022)
177,000 forced repatriations reported by IOM from January to December 2022.
EU humanitarian funding:
€18.5 million in 2023
€490 million since 1994