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Haiti: helping keep hope alive

On 12 January 2010, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed over 200,000 people, injured many thousands and made 1.7 million homeless. The disaster hit a nation where many were already living in great poverty and vulnerability.

Photo credits: EC/ECHO/ Susana Pérez Díaz

Since day one, the European Union has been fully mobilised to help the affected Haitians, providing immediate and massive humanitarian relief and development aid. European assistance has reached one Haitian in every two: saving lives, providing shelter, food and health services, and supporting the reconstruction process. 

EU Assessment Experts survey the scene in the coastal town of Miragoâne 

The European Commission was one of the first to fund humanitarian assistance in the country after the earthquake and has been responding to the humanitarian catastrophe ever since. In 2010, the Commission allocated €122 million to Haiti's humanitarian needs, reaching out to 3 million people. In 2011 and 2012, the number of Haitians receiving European humanitarian aid rose to 5 million, and the Commission's support totalled nearly €73 million. It has been targeted at:

  • building and rebuilding homes for the displaced
  • ensuring treatment for cholera patients and helping Haitian hospitals cope with the epidemics, as well as preventing disease and promoting hygiene
  • working to reduce the risk of new disasters and prepare communities and institutions to better face natural hazards.

 

Additional aid has been given following the damage caused by tropical storm Isaac in August 2012 (€3 million) and hurricane Sandy in October 2012 (€6 million).

Photo credits: EC/ECHO/Vicente Raimundo

For 2013, the Commission has set aside €30.5 million for humanitarian aid in Haiti. But the EU is committed to the country for the long term by linking its relief, rehabilitation and development support. One example of how this works is the EU's sustainable housing programme in which homes are rebuilt and services are put in place in neighbourhoods, so that nearly 500,000 displaced people in Port au Prince can return to safe houses and rely on working infrastructure.

Aside from humanitarian aid, the European Union supports other projects essential to the development of the country. Since 2010, the EU has committed around €540 million for Haiti's reconstruction and development covering road infrastructure, agriculture, human rights, food security, electoral assistance and trade support.

 ECHO Funding in Haiti 1995-2013 pdf - 264 KB [264 KB]

For more information on the Commission’s action to tackle the cholera epidemic, please visit DG ECHO website