PORT-AU-PRINCE — One of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, poverty in Haiti continues to increase due to numerous issues. Haiti is rife with problems, ranging from poor healthcare to a corrupt justice system.
The country, which has a population of more than 10 million, also receives little help from its close neighbor, the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic refuses to accept the large waves of Haitians that enter its respective country daily, resorting to forced deportation in many cases.
In addition to the numerous internal issues that affect poverty in Haiti, a 2010 earthquake also left the country in ruins. The magnitude of the earthquake was remarkably high — a 7.0 with aftershocks at 5.5 and 5.9 — devastating the unprepared country.
In fact, Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, was still recovering from multiple tropical storms and hurricanes that had devastated the country two years prior. Finally, there was not an immediate response to the crisis from outside countries and organizations. A week after the earthquake, there had been little to no foreign assistance.
To understand the needs of the country, here are 10 facts on poverty in Haiti:
- Two out of three Haitians live on less than $2 a day.
- As of 2012, the poverty rate below the national poverty line stood at 58.5 percent.
- Approximately 50 percent of Haitians are unemployed.
- There were 770,000 cases of cholera between 2010 and 2016.
- By the end of 2015, there were still 60,800 displaced individuals living in refugee camps, due to the 2010 earthquake.
- Haiti has a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection and infant mortality rate than any other country in the Western hemisphere.
- Three out of four Haitian households do not have running water.
- One out of three Haitian women and children is anemic.
- About 100,000 children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition and many experience stunted growth as a result.
- The 2010 earthquake affected about three million people.
In light of the ongoing conditions in Haiti, organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), USAID and charities like Hope for Haiti and World Central Kitchen are working hard to provide timely solutions.
Hope for Haiti focuses on education, healthcare and nutrition, economic infrastructure as well as clean water programs to create sustainable communities that would combat poverty. At the U.N. level, the UNDP has implemented initiatives to help build long-term support to reduce disaster risks.
In addition, U.S. Congress has passed legislation to respond to the needs of the Haitian people and government including the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014. President Obama enacted the bill on August 18, 2014, and it provides bilateral assistance to the government of Haiti.
– Ashley Morefield