CRS in Haiti

The island nation that has borne so many natural disasters is now recovering from Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm that made landfall in October, destroying homes, farmland and businesses. An estimated 2.1 million people were affected by the hurricane. Thanks to a longstanding presence in the country, CRS and its partners were able to respond immediately, providing pre-positioned supplies such as food and hygiene kits to some 10,000 families. Now we are helping 12,000 families in the hardest hit areas of the southern peninsula repair their homes, revive their farms, and secure safe drinking water so they can stay healthy and rebuild their lives. 


Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS
Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of Haitians living on less than $2 a day. Haiti’s poverty is intensified by the needs of a large population and by political and socioeconomic instability.

Catholic Relief Services' humanitarian work in Haiti reaches people on the edge. CRS is there when an emergency strikes. We help build hospitals, educational opportunities, agricultural prospects and healthy futures. But this work cannot be done without you. When you donate to CRS, you do it all. You help families put their lives back together after disaster. You feed the bodies and minds of children. You grow crops and futures.

CRS’ humanitarian work in Haiti focuses on several areas, including emergency response, health, education and agriculture.

In January 2010, the dire situation in Haiti was worsened by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which devastated the country’s already decaying infrastructure. More than 230,000 people died, and nearly 2 million Haitians were displaced. Immediately following the earthquake. By supporting CRS, you provided 10 million meals to more than 1 million people. Using hand-powered rubble crushers, communities removed and recycled debris, which was used for foundations of more than 4,500 transitional shelters and 300 latrines.  

Photo by Allison Shelley for CRS
Photo by Allison Shelley for CRS

In partnership with the Catholic Church in Haiti, CRS rebuilt the hospital of St. François de Sales, one of the country's oldest hospitals. Today, the 200-bed teaching hospital is operational and helping improve the quality of health care for Haitians.

In the first study of its kind, CRS visited all 2,315 Catholic schools in Haiti to assess school infrastructure, quality of service and management. That data is being used to train teachers and grow a support structure, improve programs, and provide greater accountability.

Our work with Haitian farmers continues in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which damaged nearly 100 percent of the agroforestry farms and devastated crops in the South and Grand Anse departments of the country. In addition to providing seeds and other farming supplies to help farm families replant what they lost to the hurricane, CRS is helping thousands of farmers increase their income through improved production of cacao—the raw material for chocolate. Farmers are revitalizing cacao tree plantations, learning post-production processes such as fermentation, and connecting to markets through stronger cooperatives.  As a result, farmer families receive more money for their cacao production, which allows for greater access to healthcare, more children attending school, and a more complete diet.  Cacao trees grow best in a mix of other trees.  This means farmers are preserving or planting other tree crops that provide increased cover and more revenue.


People Served: 1,112,180

Population: 10,110,019 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 10,714 sq mi; a little larger than Massachusetts 

CRS' History in Haiti

Catholic Relief Services began working in Haiti in 1954 after Hurricane Hazel devastated the country and killed about 1,000 people. High population density, severe deforestation and decaying infrastructure make Haiti particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

CRS Haiti continues its long-standing commitment to helping the Haitian people in many aspects of their lives, including sustainable development efforts after the 2010 earthquake. In Haiti, CRS responds to emergencies, provides agriculture assistance, supports education and works to enhance the health care system throughout the country.