USAID and partner the UN World Food Program are providing food assistance for vulnerable populations in Haiti.
USAID and partner the UN World Food Program are providing food assistance for vulnerable populations in Haiti.

Key Developments

On March 19, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse declared a state of health emergency across the country in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and introduced measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including international travel restrictions and physical distancing requirements. The UN reports a significant increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country since mid-May, identifying COVID-19 surveillance, public awareness messaging on the disease, and health care and water, sanitation, and hygiene support as priority needs.

The effects of political unrest and economic instability, including the depreciation of the Haitian gourde, have reduced household purchasing power and further limited livelihood opportunities, the UN reports. Additionally, fuel shortages, protests, roadblocks, and sporadic security incidents continue to limit access to essential services and markets in major cities across Haiti, increasing the cost of food and other basic goods. The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are also further hindering vulnerable households’ ability to meet basic food needs.


Haiti’s endemic poverty and civil unrest—combined with recurring shocks from natural disasters, including droughts, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes—have resulted in food insecurity and other humanitarian needs throughout the country.  Since the January 2010 earthquake and October 2010 cholera outbreak, USAID has focused both on providing immediate response to affected populations and on supporting disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs that promote local and national self-sufficiency in disaster preparedness, response, and management. Since 2010, USAID has provided approximately $186 million to support stand-alone DRR programs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, including nearly $32.2 million in funding to support DRR efforts in Haiti. In addition to stand-alone DRR programs, USAID contributed nearly $133 million to support programs integrating preparedness and mitigation activities into early recovery and transition programs in response to the January 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Since 2011, USAID has supported the International Organization for Migration to pre-position emergency relief supplies in the event of disasters, as well as to develop Government of Haiti personnel capacity to manage facilities and deploy supplies when necessary. Pre-positioning relief commodities—including plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, and water containers—ensured that relief supplies were available for distribution to affected populations immediately following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, and Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

In recent years, USAID has deployed Disaster Assistance Response Teams to Haiti following Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma to conduct disaster assessments and coordinate response activities with the GoH and humanitarian organizations.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: July 20, 2020

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