Haiti earthquake 2010
On 12 January 2010, the Republic of Haiti was rocked by its strongest earthquake in 200 years, displaced an estimated 1.7 million people and injured or killed hundreds of thousands. An estimated 482 349 people moved into rural areas, placing even greater strain on already vulnerable rural households. This movement of people worsened the situation in rural areas with nearly 600 new settlements established in rural areas since the earthquake. Seventy-five percent of the population was living in rural zones (prior to the earthquake) and depend on agriculture.
The damages to the agricultural sector caused by the earthquake was mostly related to the silt of irrigated plots and cracking of irrigation canals. According to a FAO rapid post-disaster assessment, over 80 percent of rural housing has been severely affected by the earthquake and the houses in the Léogane watershed are completely destroyed. Moreover, there has been a decrease in the volume of irrigation water available in the concerned municipalities of Gressier, Léogane and Grand Goave, affecting especially the plots of beans. There has also been a loss of stock of seeds, tools, storage and irrigation facilities.
FAO immediate response
The FAO Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Programme for Haiti integrated humanitarian assistance activities and structural interventions to support the Government of Haiti Programme of Action to rebuild the agricultural sector, improve food security and create employment and livelihood opportunities for the rural population and internally displaced people moving to rural areas as a result of the earthquake.
The focus of FAO activities for immediate support to Haiti post-earthquake included: distribution of seeds, hand tools, fertilizers, small animals and fishing materials; support to husbandry and fishery activities; promotion of fruit tree crops for soil conservation; establishment of emergency seed stocks and seed storage and conservation; reconstruction and reinforcement of infrastructure (such as irrigation canals, river banks) to withstand future floods; urban and peri-urban agriculture income generation activities.
The overall objective of the FAO emergency response and rehabilitation programming for Haiti was to ensure that food security was safeguarded over the first 12-18 months on an increasingly sustainable basis, in line with the Government of Haiti Programme of Action to rebuild the agriculture sector, and working with and through the Agriculture Cluster.
FAO focused on five broad areas of intervention: (i) seed and planting material distribution to those areas and households where is known to be in short supply or low productivity; (ii) livestock support for income generation; (iii) cash for work programmes to replace and rehabilitate agricultural infrastructure while simultaneously increasing food access through markets; (iv) targeted agricultural input support to urban and peri-urban households (household gardens) to increase self-reliance in food production, improve nutrition, stimulate urban markets and support incomes; and (v) enhanced coordination of agencies supporting agricultural and food security recovery.