Haiti is regularly hit by extreme climatic events that have seriously increased vulnerabilities in the country, particularly in rural areas and among agriculture-based livelihood communities. Almost every year since 2014, Haiti has been affected by episodes of drought and erratic distribution of rainfall. Compounding the humanitarian situation were the devastating effects of Hurricanes Matthew (October 2016) and Irma (September 2017). Hurricane Matthew – the strongest since Felix in 2007 – had catastrophic impacts on the food security and livelihoods of communities living in the departments of Grand’Anse, Sud, Sud-Est and Nippes, destroying 100 percent of crops and affecting approximately 2.1 million people. Furthermore, although its eye was not directly on Haiti, floods and strong winds linked to Hurricane Irma damaged crops in the Nord-Est department.
In 2018, severe drought resulted in a significant decline in agricultural production and households’ income. The high probability of an El Niño phenomenon in 2019 will likely increase the persistence of drought in parts of the country in the coming months.
Moreover, an economic crisis triggered by a depreciation of the Haitian gourde has caused a significant reduction in households’ purchasing power, directly affecting their food security. As a result, the population has been protesting against the Government since 7 February 2019, hampering logistics, food production and the functioning of market systems. This has contributed to eroding vulnerable households’ resilience.