Due to its vulnerability to natural hazards and high levels of poverty, Haiti has limited capacity to cope with recurring emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and prolonged droughts. Food shortages and malnutrition, disease epidemics, and the humanitarian needs generated by the ongoing migration crisis require sustained humanitarian assistance.
Haiti faces critical food shortages in 2019. Between October 2019 and February 2020, more than 6 million Haitians are not able to put enough food on the table, of which 3.67 million people require urgent food and nutritional assistance. The prevalence of acute malnutrition among children under 5 years of age remains high, and above World Health Organization (WHO) emergency levels in several locations, including the north-west department.
Three years after hurricane Matthew struck the Haitian coasts, more than 140,000 affected households still lack access to seismic-resistant homes and shelters, and remain highly vulnerable to future disasters. Additionally, about 230,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent are at risk of becoming stateless and deported to Haiti. Since June 2015, more than 260,000 individuals have crossed the border from the Dominican Republic into neighbouring Haiti, including more than 4,000 unaccompanied minors.
Despite the progress achieved, the country remains exposed to the risk of water-borne disease. Until November 2019, 674 new suspected cholera cases have been reported, with 3 associated deaths. This is a 75% decrease in the number of suspected cases and associated deaths recorded, compared to the same period the year before.
Haiti is the largest beneficiary of the European Union’s humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with €418 million provided since 1994. EU aid brought relief to the victims of the 2010 earthquake and several major hurricanes. EU assistance also helps tackle the cholera epidemic, droughts, and the migration crisis, while strengthening local capacities to prepare for, and respond to, natural and epidemic hazards.
In 2019, the EU invested €3 million in disaster preparedness and further €14 million to respond to food shortages. In addition, €50,000 supported the Haitian Red Cross in providing access to urgent healthcare to the population affected by the social unrest in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Funding was provided through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
In 2018, the EU invested €3.4 million in disaster preparedness including water, sanitation and hygiene preparedness, rapid response capacities, disaster-resistant shelter techniques and drought preparedness. An additional €12 million responded to food shortages and shelter needs, as well as to increase coordination across humanitarian operations.
In 2016 and 2017, the EU provided almost €20 million in emergency aid to cover immediate the needs of those most affected by hurricane Matthew, ranging from food to shelter, livelihood, water, nutrition, and education.
Since 2014, €49 million have been allocated to address acute food and nutritional needs through cash transfers, provision of safe water, and livelihood support.
After the 2010 earthquake, the EU provided shelter, safe drinking water, healthcare, food and protection to 5 million people. EU aid worth €52.7 million addressed the consequent cholera outbreak, targeting close to 3 million people.
Since 1998, the EU has invested over €25 million in its disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) to set up early warning systems and to strengthen shelters and infrastructure against recurring hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. Increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable communities in the face of natural and epidemics hazards remains a priority.