Socio-political and economic situations affecting Haiti’s most vulnerable populations
Haiti has once again been marked by socio-political tensions in recent weeks, tensions that have led to stoppages in economic and social activities in Port-au-Prince, as well as Les Cayes, Gonaïves and Cap-Haitien. Given that these tensions are countrywide, the situation is affecting a large part of Haiti’s population, who are dependent on trade with large cities for supplies and access to basic services. Since 2018, the economic situation has continued to deteriorate; the cost of living has increased due to a 23 per cent depreciation of the national currency over the preceding six months. This increase, combined with socio-political tensions and low agricultural productivity, led to an 11 per cent increase in the monthly price of the basic food basket in February and a 26 per cent increase compared to the year before. Recurring social protests (July 2018, November 2018, February 2019 and June 2019) have had an impact on humanitarian activities and limited people's access to assistance. For instance, during the February 2019 crisis ("peyi lòk"), humanitarian actors identified difficulties in obtaining fuel, gas and water supply. These shortages have severely hampered the functioning of health facilities and have limited or prevented people from accessing food and water. Humanitarian needs in Haiti are recurrent, frequently caused by disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, or by epidemics. Aggravating structural factors limit access to basic services, increase chronic vulnerability, reduce the resilience of the Haitian population and contribute to perpetuating a humanitarian crisis situation. In 2019, more than one in four Haitians (some 2.6 million people) are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti requires US$216 million to meet the needs of 1.3 million of Haiti's most vulnerable people.