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Haiti: The most under-funded humanitarian crisis in the world

13 Mar 2019


Today, Deputy humanitarian chief Ursula Mueller briefed Member States on the humanitarian situation in Haiti, where 2.6 million Haitians are in need humanitarian assistance and protection this year. Nearly 60 per cent of the population live below the national poverty line, in precarious conditions and with limited access to basic services. 320,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 are out of school, and over a quarter of the population does not have access to clean water.

In a context of economic fragility and socio-political tensions, the successive shocks that have affected the country (including natural disasters, epidemics, population displacements), combined with structural weaknesses limiting access to basic services, have considerably increased the chronic vulnerability of the Haitian population and reduced its capacity for resilience.

"Humanitarian conditions have deteriorated over the last year on several fronts", said Ms. Mueller. "Hunger levels have increased. And there are persisting needs following the earthquake that struck Haiti in October last year. While humanitarians continue to deliver assistance to those most vulnerable, the lack of funding represents a massive challenge. Last year, the humanitarian appeal for Haiti was funded at just 13 per cent. This makes Haiti the most under-funded humanitarian crisis in the world."

In order to maximize the impact of limited resources amidst increasing needs, the humanitarian community has more strictly prioritized the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019. "Only the most urgent lifesaving and preparedness activities are included, leaving medium and long-term activities to development programming", said Ms. Mueller. "This plan asks for US$126 million to meet the needs of 1.3 million people in 2019. This is half of what we asked for and aimed to achieve last year. The needs are higher, but we simply don’t have the funding to do more."

CERF helps fill huge funding gaps

In recognition of these severe funding gaps, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) provided $12.1 million to support lifesaving activities in Haiti last year, and the CERF was the biggest donor to the Humanitarian Response Plan. This year, the CERF has allocated a further $5 million to Haiti.

"I want to thank donors who generously contribute to the CERF, which has been an invaluable instrumental to respond to unmet needs in Haiti. However, while the CERF provides crucial funding to support lifesaving activities in underfunded emergencies, it cannot replace regular donor funding for the Humanitarian Response Plan. We can – and we must – do better for the people of Haiti. Humanitarians are ready to respond, but we need donor support in order to deliver assistance to those who need it most. I call on donors to come up with the funding for the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan. Your support will not only alleviate suffering, but it could prevent the situation in Haiti from deteriorating", concluded Ms. Mueller.