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Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, shares the island of Hispaniola with its eastern neighbor, the Dominican Republic. The country has been in a never-ending crisis for years. As a predominantly agricultural nation with a strong focus on subsistence farming, Haitians are heavily dependent on the country's natural resources.

The 2010 earthquake remains a defining moment. It caused widespread devastation and was followed by a cholera outbreak, significantly impacting the population. In October 2016, Haiti was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. To this day, the country and its people have not recovered from these disasters and are regularly hit by further catastrophes. In 2021, a powerful earthquake struck the southwest region, followed by a tropical storm. Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moїse, also in 2021, gang violence has increased dramatically. The complex web of poverty, civil unrest and gang violence, fueled by the instability of political institutions and recurring natural disasters, has recently led to an escalation of gang violence and the announcement of Prime Minister Ariel Henry's resignation. In 2024, some 5.5 million people in Haiti, roughly half the population, need humanitarian aid. 

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Our work in Haiti

Malteser International has been working in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010. While significant progress has been made in reconstructing the country, Haiti still faces urgent challenges that require continued international support to achieve self-sufficiency.

Our focus has shifted from initial emergency relief and reconstruction to addressing long-term needs. We provide nutritional assistance to malnourished children and pregnant women, tackling the food crisis. We also counteract environmental degradation through mangrove renaturation projects, boosting Haiti's resilience to natural disasters. In our activities, we focus on implementing income-generating measures for financially disadvantaged communities, for example by supporting the development of small businesses or community savings groups and strengthening trade associations: Empowering communities and implementing income-generating measures, with a particular emphasis on empowering women, are central to our work. Additionally, we provide emergency response when disasters strike, as we did after the 2021 earthquake.

In our projects, we collaborate closely with local partners in the rural department of Nippes and in the urban slum areas of Cité Soleil.

Reports from Haiti:



Cologne/Port-au-Prince. In the wake of the resignation of Haiti's interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry, violence in Haiti has intensified. Gangs have largely seized power in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and are engaging in acts of rape, kidnapping, murder, and terror against the populace. According to the United Nations, approximately 362,000 people are internally displaced within Haiti. "Our work is becoming increasingly challenging every day, but we at Malteser International are committed to staying on the ground and supporting the people," says Etienne Yolette, Partner and Programme Coordinator of Malteser International in Port-au-Prince.

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Interview with Yolette Etienne, Program Coordinator at Malteser International

On August 14, 2021, another massive earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The MI team, which has been working with local partner organizations in Haiti since 2010, was on the ground to help in the crisis region in the very first days. Yolette Etienne has now lived and worked through both of Haiti’s most violent and damaging earthquakes in recent history. And still, “tragedy”, “misfortune” and “catastrophe”, are not words you will find in her lexicon. Driven by deeply personal experiences, she has channeled them into her work as a humanitarian expert, and now as MI Americas’ Country Coordinator in Haiti. Sara Villoresi, Communications Officer at MI Americas in New York spoke with her about humanitarian aid in Haiti and her personal experiences.

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After the earthquake: "Buildings, roads, water and sewage systems - everything was gone.“

Toni Gärtner, Program Manager in the Malteser International emergency relief team, travelled in August to the crisis region with the purpose to support the Malteser team on site.

There he helped with assessing and identifying the acute needs of the affected and how to fulfill these needs in the best efficient manner.

He reports: " From above, looking out of the plane, I thought: Why are we even here, it is not looking too bad. But the moment we landed and the closer we got to the epicentre, the more massive the damage got. I would say that in some places up to 90 percent of the buildings were in complete destroyed."

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Completed projects:


Our work in Haiti

Office location: Port-au-Prince, Les Nippes

Project regions: Les Nippes and West (Port-au-Prince/Cité Soleil)
Partner: AHAAMES

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