As part of the EU's global coronavirus response, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight will depart today from Liège, Belgium, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The flight will deliver 72 tonnes of life-saving materials to supply EU-funded humanitarian partners. This is the second EU-funded flight to Haiti and is part of ongoing Air Bridge operations to critical areas of the world. It has been facilitated thanks to the collaborative efforts of France and the EU with the Haitian authorities.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: "In this critical time, the EU continues to support those in need in Haiti. The coronavirus pandemic places huge logistical pressure on the humanitarian community, while the needs remain high in critical areas. With this air bridge, the EU is delivering vital assistance such as medical material and water and sanitation supplies to support the people of Haiti. The EU stands ready to provide further humanitarian assistance to Haiti.”
Commissioner Lenarčič also announced that in 2020 the EU is supporting the most vulnerable in Haiti with an initial amount of €15 million in humanitarian funding.
Of this funding, €5 million will provide emergency food and cash assistance, targeted protection and advocacy activities, and disaster preparedness for vulnerable communities in Haiti. €10 million will complement national efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the coronavirus.
Since 1994, the European Union has allocated almost €419 million in humanitarian support to Haiti to ensure critical relief assistance to the most vulnerable, making it the largest beneficiary country in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Due to its vulnerability to natural hazards and high levels of poverty, Haiti has limited capacity to cope with recurring emergencies. Food shortages, malnutrition, recurrent disease epidemics, and additional humanitarian needs generated by an ongoing migration crisis require sustained humanitarian assistance.
After the 2010 earthquake, for instance, the EU provided shelter, safe drinking water, healthcare, food and protection to 5 million people and dedicated €52.7 million to address the consequent cholera outbreak, targeting close to 3 million people.
Over the period 2018-2019, the EU released €26 million to support access to food by the most vulnerable families in Haiti.
EU aid helps in responding to the humanitarian challenges Haiti faces, at the same time as strengthening local capacities to prepare for, and respond to, natural and epidemic hazards.
The coronavirus pandemic is increasing the vulnerability of Haiti's population, causing a sharp increase in the price of food and agricultural products, which further erodes an already strained purchasing power therefore leading to greater insecurity.