Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)3.50 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.3.20 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.20 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.2.50 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.2.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
- 4,000,000 People in Need [?]
Haiti: Complex crisis
Haiti is regularly affected by natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts. At least 2.6 million people Haiti are in need of humanitarian assistance as of January 2019, out of which almost 50% are children. Food insecurity persists in Haiti, and is driven by the combined effects of natural hazards and poor socioeconomic conditions. ?
INFORM measures Haiti's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster for 2019 to be high at 6.5/10. Lack of Coping Capacity is of particular concern, at 7.4/10.?
Tropical Storm Laura reached Haiti on 23 August, causing heavy rains, flash floods, and landslides. The departments most affected were Sud-Est, Sud, Ouest and Nippes. 31 people have died and 8,800 houses are partially or completely damaged. The flooding has caused destruction to roads and bridges and blocked access to affected areas. Anse-a-Pitres (Sud-Est department) is accessible only by air or sea. The storm also caused agricultural damage. Losses are extensive in numerous communes of Sud-Est department, estimated at 50-80% for certain crops. Crop losses are particularly worrying in a country with six million people living below the poverty line and a deepening food security crisis. The main needs are safe drinking water, food, shelter, and non-food items.?
As of 27 October, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season (1 June–30 November) had already produced 28 named storms – one of which reached Haiti – and three major hurricanes.? This is well above the yearly average of 12 storms.?
The latest strongest storm to hit Haiti was Hurricane Matthew (a Category 5 tropical hurricane) in October 2016, which left 2.1 million people affected and around 900,000 additional people in urgent need of food assistance.? At least 20% of the country was affected, with extensive flooding and significant damage to infrastructure. In July 2017, 1.4 million of the 2.1 million people affected were still in need of humanitarian assistance.? Since then, the recovery capacities of the country have not improved. If a similar event were to happen, there is a high probability that the humanitarian consequences could be severe in terms of food security and damages to core critical infrastructure.?
Haiti has a total population of 10.9 million. More than 6 million Haitians live below the poverty line (US$2.41 a day), and 5.1 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.? Food insecurity is already a main concern in Haiti; 42% of the population (4 million people) face high acute food insecurity and are in need of urgent action. 3.1 million are classified as facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity and 900,000 Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels.?
COVID-19 containment measures implemented between March and June 2020 aggravated the country’s long-term economic deterioration, which is characterised by increasing unemployment, currency devaluation, and increased price inflation, which limit people’s access to food and essential goods.?
Food insecurity and humanitarian needs are also likely to be aggravated by an increase in armed gangs, which are operating with impunity and targeting poor neighbourhoods. The current president has been ruling by decree since Haiti’s elections were delayed in 2019. This has led to a constitutional and political crisis, social unrest, and a sharp rise in insecurity.?
The overall capacity of the country to respond to current humanitarian needs is insufficient. The COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures have intensified these needs.? Remote locations, poor infrastructure, limited logistics, and increased insecurity also limit aid distribution.
Haiti’s healthcare system is experiencing disruptions as a result of COVID-19. There has been a reduction in available services, including reproductive healthcare and routine immunisation.? There is a high possibility of a collapse of the health system, which was already weak before COVID-19 and which is unable to cope with the current pandemic. There may also be a possible additional crisis – particularly in the Sud department, which was previously hit by similar events.
The risk of water-borne disease outbreaks during the above-average hurricane season is high, because of the lack of basic healthcare and routine vaccinations during 2020. Shelter, NFIs, livelihoods, and education will also be some of the main needs of the affected population.
Floods, loss of crops, and disruptions in supply chains will likely see the number of people who are food insecure and in need of urgent assistance rising to more than half the population. Because of the country’s economic decline, without greater international assistance it is unlikely the government will have the financial resources to properly support the population with safety net programmes and to finance imports.?
Recent levels of insecurity could hamper humanitarian access, while COVID-19 and containment measures could make it more challenging for response teams to reach hurricane-hit areas.
Read the latest October Risk Analysis here
The first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported on 18 March. As of 12 May, Haiti has registered 209 confirmed cases with 16 deaths. Current numbers could grow considering the return of many Haitians who lost their jobs in the neighbouring Dominican Republic – almost 15,000 voluntary returns estimated between 17 March and 3 May – and deportation of Haitian citizens from the US without systematic testing. Pre-existing vulnerabilities include fragile healthcare and sanitation systems, six million Haitians living below the poverty line, a deteriorating economic and political situation, deepening food insecurity, and the presence of slums where self-isolation measures are hardly possible. Onset of hurricane season in June might further stretch humanitarian response capacities. The government declared a state of health emergency until 20 May with the closure of airports and ports, but the lockdown has not been systematically enforced as informal workers continue working to survive. There are shortages of medical and protective material.?
- Food Security: expected declines in crop production due to below-average and irregular rains since March, continued inflation, and the effects of COVID-19 containment measures are affecting food security. The high prices of staple goods are making it hard for the poorest households to access food. WFP estimates that the number of people in severe food insecurity could rise from the current 700,000 to 1.6 million in the coming months.?
President Jovenel Moise has encountered repeated periods of civil unrest throughout his presidency, which officially began in February 2017. In November 2016, immediately following the presidential elections that put Moise in power, demonstrations rejecting the results of the low-turnout election ensued, primarily in the capital. Several people were arrested. In September, October, and November 2017, protests erupted against Moise’s administration and the proposed rise in taxes, eventually leading to calls for the President’s resignation. Protests began again in early July 2018 when hikes in fuel prices were introduced; 20 people lost their lives. Sporadic episodes of unrest continued throughout August 2018 and progressed until December, amidst allegations of corruption committed by Moise.
Protests have persisted throughout 2019, as Haitians have repeatedly taken to the street to demonstrate their discontent with stark inequalities, ongoing financial crisis, lack of adequate social services, questions around human rights abuses, and the dissatisfaction with President Moise. The most recent bout of anti-government demonstrations - beginning in mid-September 2019 and still ongoing as of 4 December - have led to the deaths of 42 people and injured more than 86. ?The protests pose significant challenges to the health sector, as patients and staff face difficulties in accessing medical facilities, and in many hospitals supplies are running out. Many schools were forced to remain closed due to security risk.? However, on 2 December, schools began to partially open after 2 months of protests. ? Fuel shortages, security incidences, and roadblocks are impeding the ability of humanitarian organisations to operate, leading to heightened needs. The negative impacts of the volatile situation are expected continue, as Moise has reiterated his unwillingness to step down, as demanded by protestors.?