Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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Photo credit: EU/ECHO/ H.Avril

What are the needs?

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. Five years on, more than 60 000 Haitians remain sheltered in 45 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 July 2015).

Food insecurity is a major concern. According to FEWS NET (Famine Early Warning Systems Network), at least 2.5 million people will be acutely food insecure from January to June 2016.  Rainfall scarcity and irregularity has caused severe vegetation deficits and losses estimated at 60 to 70%. Locally produced food prices sharply increased in local markets, while prices of imported basic food products increased by 10% in June 2015, mainly as a consequence of the strong Haitian currency (Gourde) devaluation against the US dollar. In addition, deficient yields in main crops reduced labour opportunities for highly vulnerable households and government investment in agriculture has decreased due to the ongoing electoral process. As a consequence, highly vulnerable households were forced to adopt coping mechanisms to cover basic food needs. On the other hand, access to water for productive or basic human needs continues to be a huge challenge in drought-affected areas.

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.

The cholera epidemic remains a major threat in Haiti. As a consequence of the last major outbreak registered between September 2014 and March 2015, the number of suspected cholera cases and deaths from January to early August 2015 was still over 75% of the total number of cases registered in 2014. However, rapid response efforts brought the epidemic under control, through healthcare, water and sanitation interventions, scaling up efforts during the dry season. The chances of eradication will increase if these efforts are supported by local authorities, integrating cholera case management into the existing package of health services.

How are we helping?

Haiti is the largest beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with €332 million in assistance since 1995. Funds have been used to respond to needs arising from natural hazards and from violence with severe humanitarian consequences, in the context of a profound socio-economic crisis.

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 andprotection for those still living in camps, while supporting ongoing efforts to relocate the remaining displaced population to decent housing in neighborhoods.

  • 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.

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