Over the past decade, natural disasters took more lives in Haiti (per million inhabitants) than in any other country, largely due to the 2010 7.0 M earthquake that killed about 2% of the population. Haiti has active earthquake faults and a history of significant earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides. Directly off the north coast lies a major fault, which could rupture again as it did in 1842 and send powerful tsunami waves into densely populated Cap-Haïtien within 10 minutes.
An island nation, Haiti faces recurring and frequent coastal hazards: extreme storms, coastal erosion, waves triggered by offshore landslides, and sea level rise. Tropical storms and hurricanes cause flooding across the country. Climate change is magnifying the intensity of these disasters, as are deforestation, soil erosion and poor drainage networks.
Disasters relief efforts often divert funds that could otherwise support development goals or pressing social needs. More than half of Haitian people live below the national poverty line. Access to quality education and health care are benchmarks for a better future, but vulnerability of facilities threatens progress. For example, the 2010 earthquake damaged more than 4,200 schools, causing high casualties and interrupting the education of more than 50,000 children. Building failures and lack of emergency training crippled hospitals in a time of great need.
Facing many challenges, Haitians are taking steps to build resilience. The government recently adopted the National Risk and Disaster Management Plan 2019-2030 that takes into account Haiti’s context of multi-risk, recurring events, and climate change. Our programs are building local capacities and helping communities to better understand their threats and to develop practical strategies that reduce risk. One focus is resilient school infrastructure and youth-focused activities, because nearly 50% of the population is under the age of 19. Our other programs target family preparedness, hospital resilience, and risk communication.
GeoHazards International in Haiti: Our Haitan staff members are based in Cap-Haïtien on the north coast (since 2013) and Anse-á-Veau on the southern peninsula (since 2016).
Parts of this page is under development.