This document complements the operational plan of the IFRC country office and reflects the IFRC support provided to the Haiti Red Cross Society (HRCS) in agreed upon areas of focus.
Haiti, situated on the western side of the island of Hispaniola and with a population of 10,579,230 inhabitants, is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. 59% of its population lives under the poverty line and more than 24% lives in a situation of extreme poverty. A high level of inequality, a fiscal deficit that is expected to widen, and a slowing economic growth make it a challenge to face such poverty rates (World Bank 2017).
Haiti has made limited progress in providing its population access to basic services, but coverage remains among the lowest of any country in the Americas. Only 36% of the population had access to electricity in 2012 (compared to 32% in 2010); 57.5% had access to clean water in 2015 (36% in 2000); and 28% had access to basic sanitation in 2015 (21% in 2000).
Literacy rates in Haiti have seen substantial gains, from 64% in 2003 to 79% in 2012 for males and from 54% to 74% over the same period for females (9).
However, 23% of the general population is illiterate, a figure that rises to over 30% in rural areas. The net enrollment rate in primary school has continuously increased from 47% in 1993 to 88% in 2011. The primary completion rate declined to 66% in 2012 from 68% in 2001, and less than 10% of the population completes secondary or higher education. Most schools are non-state and 67% of students attend private schools (fee-paying) (4).
The high reliance on non-government actors has led to very limited and ineffective public spending by the government in health, education, and social protection (World Bank 2015). The country continues to experience a rural exodus towards major urban areas such as Port-au-Prince and Gonaives with an ongoing exodus of the population towards the Dominican Republic, the United States and Latin American countries. The lack of public services, particularly in health, water, education, police and justice, is a direct consequence of the fragility of public institutions and governance in the country. Social unrest has been increasing in the country due to the worsening of the economic situation and has led to violent protest in July 2018 with the resignation of the Prime Minister and government and a new government was installed in September 2018. The security situation in the country remains volatile.
Haiti is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards, with more than 90% of the population at risk. The high social and economic vulnerability of the population couple with massive deforestation and environmental deterioration, has a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable population. The recurrence of hydrometeorological hazards, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, couple with weak disaster preparedness and response, creates an environment of Natural hazards, particularly hydrometeorological events, coupled with the high vulnerability of the population, is another element that is impacting heavily on Haiti, given that the country is in a hurricane zone and is highly vulnerable to floods, droughts, earthquakes, and hurricanes. The country had not fully recovered from the impact of the devastating 2010 earthquake when it was struck by Category 4 Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which had a significant impact on livelihoods and infrastructure and led to a new spike in cholera.