Haiti is an extremely fragile state, vulnerable to natural and human-induced hazards. It is also the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, with almost 77% of its citizens living with less than €2 a day and at least 60% of them being unemployed or under-employed.
The socio-political situation keeps deteriorating, with increasing violence and criminality, notably in the capital’s urban area.
The country requires humanitarian assistance due to the food crisis and malnutrition, the needs generated by urban violence, the ongoing migration crisis, and the impact of natural hazards.
What are the needs?
Haiti has been facing a food crisis for the last 4 years. Some 4.4 million people (more than 40% of the population) are currently acutely food insecure, including 1.3 million living in an emergency situation.
The situation might worsen even further due to (i) the global rise in food and fuel prices due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, (ii) the national currency depreciation, (iii) political instability, (iv) gang violence, and (v) market disruptions.
Recurrent territorial clashes between rival gangs inside and around Port-au-Prince have forced at least 36,000 people to leave their homes since June 2021.
Those who had to relocate to makeshift camps lack of access to basic services, food, and safe water and sanitation. Children, older people, women, and single-headed households are particularly exposed to abuse, exploitation and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence.
In this fragile context, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti’s southern peninsula 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.
More than 4 million children had to interrupt school abruptly, undermining the progress in access and quality of education. Gangs’ blockades of Port-au-Prince’s southern entrance made it even more challenging to deliver assistance.
The complex situation has constantly driven Haitians out of their country. According to official figures, there are more than 1.2 million Haitian migrants across the world (nonofficial estimations indicate that the figure might be much higher, standing at 3 million), mainly in the United States, Canada, France, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.
According to migration authorities in Panamá, Haitians made up more than 60% of the total number of migrants crossing the Darien in 2021 – a dangerous jungle between Panama and Colombia.
Since January 2021 to April 2022, at least 40,000 Haitians have been forcefully repatriated, mostly from the United States.
How are we helping?
With €451 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 disasters and crises in Haiti, including the current humanitarian needs related to the violent context, the effects of the 2021 earthquake in the southern peninsula, the COVID-19 pandemic and food shortages and malnutrition in recent years.
In 2021, the EU allocated €17 million to address the needs of the most vulnerable people, of which:
- €8 million for the emergency response to the food crisis with cash and nutritional services in rural and urban areas
- €3.25 million to meet the needs generated by the recent increase in gang-related violence, forced displacement, and forced repatriation
- €2.5 million in disaster preparedness and €250,000 in humanitarian coordination
- €3 million in humanitarian funding following the devastating earthquake of 7.2 magnitude that hit Haiti last year to address the most urgent needs of the affected communities.
To facilitate the delivery of life-saving aid, the EU deployed 3 Humanitarian Air Bridge operations carrying over 177 tonnes of cargo. EU humanitarian partners operating in the country distributed this assistance.
In the aftermath of the earthquake in 2021, the EU also coordinated the assistance mobilised by Member States, including a water treatment plant, medical equipment and 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: 31/08/2022
Picture: © European Union, 2021
Facts & figures
4.9 million people in need of humanitarian aid
4.4 million people are food insecure while at least 3.5 million Haitians are suffering from multi-dimensional vulnerabilities (June 2022)
19,000 forced repatriations from January to June.
EU humanitarian funding:
€451 million since 1994