Five years on from the Haiti earthquake: the EU’s response

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Summary: 8 January 2015, Brussels - On 12 January 2010, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake that took 222,750 people's lives, injured many thousands and made 1.5 million homeless. Today, the amount of people still living in camps – those formally known as Internally Displaced People – has gone down to 85,000.

While many challenges still lay ahead of Haiti, in terms of poverty eradication, political stability and environmental degradation, the EU has been able to support the Haitian population right from the aftermath of the earthquake in January 2010 up to now, with our aid reaching one in every two Haitians.

How the EU responded

Since day one, the European Union has responded to the needs of the Haitian population; providing shelter, food and health services, helping to rebuild roads, schools and supporting the Haitian authorities in the reconstruction process.

Besides responding to the post-earthquake humanitarian crisis, the European Union has continued to provide cooperation aid to Haiti, aiming to eradicate poverty, improve living standards and encourage long-term socio-economic development.

The EU has provided in total €883 million for Haiti between 2008 and 2013, of which €545 million came from the European Development Fund (EDF). The funds were used in a number of priority areas: supporting the State's budget, rehabilitation of roads, agriculture, education, human rights, food security, electoral assistance and support to trade. Thanks to this support, the education of 150,000 children has been improved, as has food security for another 750,000 people in the country.

Increasing its resilience to face any future external shocks is another important goal of our cooperation. In Haiti, even still today, the EU provides both humanitarian and development aid; working to ensure that we avoid any gap between these two types of assistance.

At the same time, the EU and Haiti are engaged in a regular political dialogue aimed at advancing democracy, human rights, the rule of law, security, economic integration and regional cooperation.

Future EU Cooperation with Haiti – 2014- 2020

The EU will provide €420m to Haiti, between 2014 and 2020 under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

This support will focus on a few key areas; education, reform of the state, modernisation of public administration, urban development and infrastructure, and food security and nutrition.


Our support on education will help to improve the quality of the country’s education system by developing the initial and life-long professional training of teachers, by improving the quality and ensuring standardisation of the national curriculum. We will also support access to primary education for children with disabilities. In order to increase employability of young people and business development, the EU will also work towards the development of the quality and offer of vocational training.

Urban development

In urban development, the EU will carry on supporting the country’s most vulnerable areas, providing inhabitants with a better quality of life, thanks to the planned and managed development of urban areas, improved roads and access to essential services (water, sanitation, electricity and waste collection).

The EU will also support communities in building their own houses in a safer hurricane- and earthquake-proof way so as to ensure increased resilience to future disasters.

Food security

The EU will increase its support to improving the population’s access to food, by, for example, increasing agricultural production, and the commercialisation of agricultural products, as well as education on nutrition. Other examples of activities include:

  • Updating the national food and nutritional security plan
  • An improved data collection and analysis system and is being put in place to help the Government in predicting food shortages and put in place appropriate mitigation measures.
  • Improving the information system on food security
  • Strengthening family agriculture though improved access to inputs, credits and watershed management
  • Establishing a quality control and a certification system for agricultural products and livestock. Support for the State

Between 2014 and 2020, the EU will continue to support the building of Haiti’s state in order to increase the government’s ability to reduce poverty, improve access to basic services and stimulate growth.

A new programme of €112m has been adopted and is being implemented since the beginning of 2014. The programme is supporting the modernisation of public administration, improving the public finance system, as well as transparency of public spending and the fight against corruption.

Humanitarian response – helping to meet urgent needs on the ground

The EU's humanitarian response to the earthquake has continued throughout 2014, addressing the prevalent humanitarian needs.

Total humanitarian aid to Haiti 2011-2014 has now reached €129 million.

ECHO's main areas of work have been:

  • Providing basic services and protection to those still living in camps and support to the national efforts to relocate displaced persons to neighbourhoods;

  • Cholera treatment and prevention with water, sanitation and hygiene activities complementing Haitian efforts;

  • Assistance following extensive damage after Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy in 2012;

  • Actions to increase vulnerable people’s resilience towards natural hazards through Disaster Risk Reduction and preparedness;

  • Actions to address food insecurity.

In 2010, immediately after the devastating earthquake, the European Commission allocated €122 million in humanitarian aid to provide assistance to the victims of both the earthquake and the cholera epidemic. 5 million people benefitted from the funding during the earthquake emergency phase, and another 3 million from humanitarian aid during the acute phase of the cholera epidemic.

In 2015, the EU-funded humanitarian projects in Haiti will focus on resilience-building.

The European Commission is also preparing a Joint Humanitarian-Development Framework to foster a common understanding, analysis and shared solutions, thus giving way to more developmental assistance.

The Joint Framework will further reinforce the coordination and complementarity between humanitarian and development interventions while taking into account Haitian national priorities.

Haiti is also the largest beneficiary of the European Commission's humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with over €332 million in humanitarian aid since 1995, and will continue to provide assistance as long as humanitarian needs exist.

Key Results of EU support in Haiti

  • The rehabilitation of 7 areas in Port au Prince since 2010 (ongoing), allowing displaced populations to return to their neighbourhood but also helping them to improve their quality of life by providing them with services such as access to water and sanitation, and increasing their employment opportunities. Consulting and involving the community at each step of the rehabilitation process has been a priority for the EU, also in permanent coordination with public institutions.

  • Food security has been improved for 750,000 people through the rehabilitation of irrigation systems, support to agricultural and livestock production, processing systems and marketing training. In addition, 3,000 farmers have benefited from micro grants to increase their production (in six districts of the country). For instance, a farmer who used to be forced to sell the rights to exploit their land in the need of immediate cash, now has the financial resources and the necessary skills to conduct a more sustainable use of agricultural production, thanks to the system.

  • 17 schools and educational support centers have been created across Haiti with our support, and more than 370 schools in four departments have been rehabilitated to, for instance, include proper sanitation facilities, which remain a key priority also in view of the cholera transmission risks.

All in all, 150,000 children in Haiti are currently benefitting from improved education thanks to EU aid.

  • The EU has so far rehabilitated 100 (out of 180) km of roads, between Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien (the second biggest city of the country), significantly improving the security of this section of the highway and opening up isolated areas of the country's central region.

For Further Information

For more on DG DEVCO:


To find out more about our work in Haiti:


For more on DG ECHO's work in Haiti:


DG ECHO’s factsheet on Haiti: