Haiti is the least developed country in the northern hemisphere, and the poorest in all Latin America. Toilets, electricity and drinking water are a luxury that few can afford.
In Haiti 80% of a population of about 9 million live below the poverty line with less than two dollars a day. 47% of the population over 15 years old are illiterate and almost 75% of all housing is of sheet metal, wood or cardboard, with no toilets.
In Haiti extreme poverty makes it difficult for families to meet their daily needs. Most of the population is jobless and lives in conditions of absolute degradation. To make things worse the country is systematically subjected to enormous natural calamities. The 2010 earthquake, of magnitude 7, was one of the worst ever recorded. In a single minute the quake destroyed houses, schools and streets, leaving devastation and misery in its wake. The balance was of 250,000 dead and more than one million displaced. On that occasion Cesvi went straight into action to assure access to water and to protect the abandoned children. Reception tents were set up to offer basic needs such as food and water to very many children immediately after the earthquake.
In 2016 another catastrophe struck the country. Hurricane Matthew swept over the island with unheard of violence and blasts of wind up to 200 kilometres per hour. Once again thousands of people were left homeless and there were many hundreds victims of the disaster. Our staff, still on the ground, got into action immediately to meet the emergency distributing temporary shelters, food, medicines and hygienic kits. Interventions like this are fundamental because, after every catastrophic event, the health and hygiene situation becomes critical, greatly increasing the risk of epidemics of cholera and other diseases.