Due to its vulnerability to natural hazards and high levels of poverty, Haiti has limited capacity to cope with recurring emergencies caused by severe disasters and prolonged droughts worsened by the "El Niño" weather phenomenon. Acute food insecurity and malnutrition, an ongoing cholera epidemic and the migration crisis require sustained humanitarian assistance.
Haiti is facing critical food and nutritional insecurity, with 4.4 million Haitians acutely food insecure and 131 000 acutely malnourished children (National Food Security Coordination and Ministry of Health), a consequence of the prolonged drought - exacerbated by an exceptionally strong “El Niño” weather phenomenon – and the impacts of hurricanes Matthew (October 2016) and Irma (September 2017). More than a year after hurricane Matthew, 80 000 affected households still do not have access to minimum earthquake and seismic-resistant homes and shelters, thus remaining highly vulnerable to future shocks (UNOCHA figures).
Despite progress, a widespread lack of access to safe drinking water, the continued weakness of sanitary infrastructure and high cholera fatality rates remain serious concerns. Between January and October 2017, 11 933 new suspected cholera cases and 133 associated fatalities were registered.
Acute humanitarian needs still persist in remaining internally displaced person's (IDPs) camps. Basic services, protection and adequate housing solutions remain largely insufficient; 37 867 Haitians are still sheltered in camps, where access to water and basic services remains very limited. Additionally, about 200 000 Dominicans of Haitian descent are at risk of becoming stateless and deported to Haiti. Since June 2015, 229 885 individuals crossed the border, including over 4167 unaccompanied minors (IOM figures).
Haiti is the largest beneficiary of the European Commission's humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with €378.35 million in assistance since 1994. EU aid brought relief to victims of the 2010 earthquake and of several major hurricanes; helped tackle the cholera epidemic, droughts and the migration crisis; and strengthened local capacities to prepare for and respond to natural and epidemics hazards.
After the 2010 earthquake, the EU provided shelter, safe drinking water, healthcare, food and protection to 5 million people. €52.7 million addressed the cholera outbreak, targeting close to 3 million people.
Since 2014, €31.33 million were allocated to address acute food and nutrition needs through cash transfers, safe water and livelihoods.
In 2016 and 2017, €19.755 million in emergency aid were allocated to cover immediate food, shelter, livelihoods, water, nutrition and education needs of those most affected by hurricane Matthew (October 2016). Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable groups remains a priority, in particular in the face of recurring natural and epidemics disasters.
Following category 5 (maximum strength) hurricane Irma’s devastation of the Caribbean in September 2017, the European Commission provided €50 000 through the disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support hygiene promotion, the distribution of mosquitos nets and kitchen and hygiene kits in the North-East Department.
Since 1998, the EU has invested €22.2 million in its disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) to set up early warning systems and strengthen shelters and infrastructure to face recurring hurricanes, floods and other disasters.