Haiti: Infrastructure and Institutions Emergency Recovery Project - Project information document (PID), appraisal stage

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Country and Sector Background

1. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most disadvantaged in the world. Some 76 percent of its population of 9.6 million lives below the poverty line, with 56 percent in extreme poverty (2001 data). In recent decades, it has demonstrated a very high vulnerability to economic and social crises, as well as to numerous exogenous shocks, such as adverse natural events and commodity prices. In 2004, city of Gonaives was devastated by Hurricane Jeanne, which took more than 4,000 lives. October 2007, brought Tropical Storm Noel, which caused flash floods and mudslides in the Western Part of the country, causing 66 deaths and 14,776 families to lose their homes. In March 2008, the country endured political and social turmoil, as world prices for food and oil soared. The hurricane season of that year brought four major storms and hurricanes, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, which hit Haiti over the course of one month. The storms killed 793 and injured 301 injured, with 1 million affected. Damages and losses were put at close to US$ 1 billion, or 15 percent of GDP.