In the context of the continued EU support following the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on 14 August, Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič is travelling to Haiti today. The visit aims to reaffirm the EU's humanitarian commitment to alleviating the ongoing emergency situation and coincides with the deployment of a third Humanitarian Air Bridge flight delivering over 50 tonnes of life-saving cargo provided by Slovenia, EU partners and humanitarian organisations.
Today, the Commissioner will participate in a handover ceremony of more than 50 tonnes of humanitarian cargo, including hygiene and shelter kits, medical equipment, jerry cans and other items to help the affected communities pull through the emergency aftermath. Since August this year, through the Humanitarian Air Bridge flights deployed for Haiti, the EU has made available over 177 tonnes of material to meet the most urgent needs of the local population. Commissioner Lenarčič will meet several UN and NGO representatives as well as diplomatic representatives from EU member states. In addition, the Commissioner will visit several EU-supported local humanitarian projects at various sites in Les Cayes affected by the earthquake.
Commissioner Lenarčič said: “When disaster strikes, ensuring continued support is as important as providing immediate relief. One month after the earthquake that hit Haiti, we are here to reaffirm our commitment with the third EU funded Humanitarian Air Bridge flight, deployed to allow vital aid to reach the affected population. I thank all our partners who donated the humanitarian cargo for this operation. We will strengthen the humanitarian response and facilitate aid delivery to Haiti for as long as it is needed. However, close cooperation with the development partners will be crucial so that Haiti can finally recover and rise from this downward spiral of crises towards a more resilient future.”
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the EU released €3 million to meet the most urgent needs of the population and deployed a team of European experts on the ground to assess the situation and offer logistic support to local authorities. Through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU is also coordinating the continued delivery of aid offers from EU Member States, including: a water purification unit, tarpaulins, kitchen kits and other supplies from Spain, a water purification unit and a team of over 40 rescuers from France, a telecommunication model from Luxembourg, a vessel to facilitate transport operations from the Netherlands, family tents and other supplies from Sweden, an emergency medical team with a field hospital from Norway and tarpaulins, blankets, soap and personal protective equipment from Italy.
Initially set up in response to the challenges generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union Humanitarian Air Bridge flight operations are intended to help reinforce humanitarian and emergency responses in countries facing fragile contexts. These flights help fill in critical gaps by facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, emergency assistance and the transport of humanitarian staff when required.
The emergency generated by the earthquake of 7.2 magnitude that hit Haiti on 14 August put an additional strain on the dire humanitarian situation of the country, which was already under heavy pressure due to food shortages, malnutrition and migration issues, among other challenges.
The EU has provided humanitarian aid to victims of major disasters and crises in Haiti, including hurricane Matthew (2016), the epidemics of cholera, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2010 and 2021 earthquakes.