What are the needs?
Haiti is facing a highly critical food and nutritional security situation caused by the prolonged droughts which have been exacerbated by El Niño phenomena. An estimated 3.6 million individuals are suffering from acute food insecurity countrywide. The most vulnerable households are facing serious difficulties to cover their basic food needs in local markets and are highly dependent on imported food due to the local production losses.
Although there has been significant progress since the 2010 earthquake, acute humanitarian needs still persist. Basic services, protection and adequate housing solutions remain largely insufficient for those who are still displaced. Six years on, more than 62 000 Haitians remain sheltered in 36 camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with very limited access to water and other basic services, according to the International Organization for Migration (figures as of March 2016).
The cholera epidemic remains a major threat in Haiti. Despite significant progress, the lack of access to safe drinking water and the prevailing weaknesses of sanitary infrastructures resulting in high cholera institutional fatality rates remain serious concerns.
All of the above factors are exacerbated by an exposure to natural hazards. Most recently in October 2016, hurricane Matthew affected millions of Haitians and caused more than three hundred fatalities.
Seasonal migration to the Dominican Republic, which has always been a coping strategy for households in times of stress, became more difficult due to tensions over migration issues between the two countries.
How are we helping?
Haiti is the largest beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, receiving €357.2 million in assistance since 1995. Funds have been used for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and to respond to humanitarian needs arising from natural hazards.
When category 4 hurricane Matthew made landfall on Haiti’s southern coast on 4 October 2016, the European Commission allocated €255 000 in emergency assistance for early relief to the most affected populations who are in need of temporary shelters, safe drinking water, health and sanitation services. On 7 October, the Commission further stepped up its support with €1.5 million to cover basic immediate needs.
Since 2010, aid has focused on assisting victims of the devastating earthquake and the cholera epidemic, responding to sudden emergencies - such as Hurricane Isaac and Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012, and slow-onset disasters - like the current severe food and nutritional insecurity caused by droughts, and building up the resilience of the most vulnerable populations.
Since 2010, the European Commission's humanitarian support covers notably:
- Basic services and protection for those still living in camps, while supporting ongoing efforts to relocate the remaining displaced population to decent housing in neighbourhoods.
- Addressing food and nutritional insecurity, mainly caused by the prolonged drought exacerbated by El Niño phenomenon, by combining emergency response initiatives with resilience-building in areas particularly vulnerable to recurrent shocks, articulated with longer-term development.
- Cholera treatment and prevention to reduce the number of suspected cholera cases, and bring the mortality rate below 1%, by supporting multi-sectorial rapid responses in cases of outbreaks.
- Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) interventions, in order to prepare communities and institutions to face and respond to current and future shocks such as hurricanes, droughts and floods.