The European Commission has announced today €17 million (US$20.23 million) in humanitarian aid to address the needs of the most vulnerable in Haiti and the Caribbean, which have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The EU continues to provide life-saving humanitarian aid support directly to the most vulnerable population. In Haiti as well as in the rest of the Caribbean, recurrent natural hazards further increase vulnerabilities, while also exacerbated by the coronavirus. In this challenging time, the EU is stepping up its long-standing humanitarian assistance to those most in need.”
In Haiti, €14 million will save lives of people suffering extreme food insecurity, provide protection for migrants and victims of gang violence and increase resilience to disasters. Meanwhile for other islands of the Caribbean, €3 million will be allocated to disaster preparedness and resilience interventions in at-risk communities.
4.4 million people or 40% of the Haitian population will need humanitarian assistance in 2021. Due to its vulnerability to natural hazards, governance issues 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 socio-political crisis require sustained humanitarian assistance.
Haiti is the largest beneficiary of the EU humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with €448 million provided since 1994. 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. EU humanitarian aid helps in responding to the humanitarian challenges Haiti faces such as natural and epidemic hazards, through strengthening local capacities to prepare for and respond to them.
Since 1994, the European Union has provided €183 million in humanitarian aid to the Caribbean, excluding Haiti. This funding includes €50.8 million for disaster risk reduction and community resilience.