Haiti - Hurricane Irma
USAID is responding to Hurricane Irma, which passed over Haiti's north coast on September 8, 2017.

Key Developments

Hurricane Irma—the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record—began affecting the eastern Caribbean in early September. On September 6, the hurricane made landfall over the island of Barbuda in the northeastern Caribbean before passing near The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. The hurricane brought destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and dangerous storm surge, resulting in one fatality and destroying an estimated 90 percent of structures on Barbuda.

On September 7, USAID activated a regional Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) with staff in The Bahamas, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. USAID also stood up a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team to coordinate the U.S. government's humanitarian response to the hurricanes.

On September 8, the DART Deputy Team Leader in Haiti, along with Government of Haiti (GoH) and United Nations (UN) representatives, participated in an overflight assessment of hurricane-affected areas in northern Haiti. The mission observed no major impacts from Hurricane Irma; as a result, the GoH and the UN concluded that the situation does not represent an emergency. In response, the USAID regional DART scaled down Haiti staff on September 9.

USAID partners UN World Food Program (WFP) and the International Organization for Migration coordinated relief-item provision for temporarily displaced families residing in shelters in northern Haiti. On September 8, approximately 64 metric tons of WFP-procured high-energy biscuits arrived in Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince to supplement, as needed, the food WFP had pre-positioned in northern Haiti to reach 80,000 hurricane-affected people.

Learn more about USAID's Caribbean Hurricanes response efforts


Haiti, an island in the Caribbean region, is vulnerable to recurrent floods and landslides associated with the rainy and hurricane seasons. Since the January 2010 earthquake and October 2010 cholera outbreak, USAID/OFDA 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/OFDA has provided nearly $95 million to support stand-alone DRR programs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, including approximately $20.4 million in funding to support DRR efforts in Haiti. In addition to stand-alone DRR programs, USAID/OFDA contributed nearly $44 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/OFDA has supported IOM to pre-position emergency relief supplies in the event of disasters—such as flooding and landslides—during the rainy and hurricane seasons, as well as to develop GoH 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.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti on October 4, resulting in nearly 550 deaths and affecting an estimated 2.1 million people, including 806,000 people requiring immediate food assistance, according to the Government of Haiti Directorate of Civil Protection. The storm brought destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and dangerous storm surge, resulting in widespread flooding and extensive damage to crops, houses, and infrastructure primarily in Grand’Anse and Sud Departments. Learn more about USAID's Hurricane Matthew response efforts.

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Last updated: January 17, 2018

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