Poverty and exposure to disasters are closely related in Haiti, as most households whose consumption level is just above the poverty line are at risk from at least one hazard such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, and drought. Due to the frequent occurrence of hazards, Haiti is subjected almost annually to catastrophic events with disastrous impacts, resulting in significant loss of life and adversely affecting poverty reduction efforts, economic growth, and fiscal stability.
The “Building Physical, Fiscal, and Inclusive Resilience in Haiti” Technical Assistance (TA) project has been launched to support the government of Haiti to address these challenges. The TA is accomplishing this by strengthening Disaster Risk Management (DRM) institutions and emergency preparedness and response, mainstreaming DRM in key sectors, strengthening Disaster Risk Financing, and improving the understanding of disaster impacts on the poor and women. The project also addresses preparations for the 2020 hurricane season and prevention measures for compounding risk and COVID-19. This work will also complement the “Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Public Infrastructure Management in Haiti” TA, also implemented under the Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility.
• Strengthening DRM Institutions and Emergency Preparedness and Response: The Ministry of Interior and Local Authorities is strengthening the institutional capacities of the National Disaster Risk Management System and the Civil Protection Directorate, and to support stakeholder consultations and workshops.
• Mainstreaming DRM in Key Sectors: DRM plans are developed in the Education, Health, Public Works, and Agriculture sectors, supports the maintenance and expansion of the HaitiData open-data platform, supports the dissemination of safe construction practices to both public and private sector builders, supports the revision of the 2012 Haiti Building Code, and encourages the promotion of the Hydromet Unit as an autonomous entity.
• Strengthening Disaster Risk Financing: The government of Haiti in assessing, reducing, and managing fiscal risks associated with natural disasters. Resilient fiscal protection and timely access to financing through financial instruments is critical for post-disaster response and recovery needs.
• Improving Understanding of Impacts of Disasters on the Poor and Women: The government of Haiti is strengthening its capacity to respond to post-disaster recovery and reconstruction by monitoring changes in the population’s livelihoods and thus being able to mobilize its resources more effectively so they can be dispatched to the poor and vulnerable.
Several activities have advanced in the frame of the first component which aims to strengthen DRM institutions and provide technical assistance to promote emergency preparedness and response:
- Activities supported the dissemination of a communications campaign over the summer of 2020 which promoted early warning messages and emergency preparedness. Spearheaded by the Haiti Civil Protection General Directorate (Direction Générale de la Protection Civile - DGPC), the campaign involved multiple distribution channels, including radio, video, and social media, and was publicized on national television and print media. The campaign had a high impact, with about five million people reached.
- While entering the 2020 hurricane season in a context of COVID-19 pandemic, DGPC reviewed and updated the 2013 Emergency Evacuations Shelter Guidelines to integrate COVID-19 considerations. Technical assistance of the Caribbean RRB Facility was provided to the DGPC to integrate COVID-19 recommendations in the guidelines, outlining the procedures to activate emergency shelters and to develop related training materials. Several virtual working sessions were also organized between July and November 2020 with the technical staff of the DGPC to review the guide and develop the associated materials, training a total of 15 people including five women. Furthermore, a detailed set of recommendations and technical advice were provided for the development of an online training platform and mobile application to reach the local members of the DGPC in charge of shelter management.
- The Haiti DGPC became a General Directorate within the government of Haiti since the approval of the DRM Law in June 2020. The Caribbean RRB Facility is providing technical assistance to support DGPC in this transition through the development of institutional and organizational diagnostics. Specifically, an institutional workshop was organized to exchange experiences between Mexico, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Haiti on 17 December 2020, bringing together 41 people including 13 women. The workshop was set up as an exchange of experiences among Latin American countries that have gone through institutional and organizational changes in DRM. The workshop led to an enhanced understanding of the institutional and operational adjustments needed in order to support the transition of DGPC.
Several activities were implemented between July and December 2020 under the second component, which aims to improve DRM planning and coordination capacity within different sectors:
- Ongoing support is being provided to the Haiti Hydrometeorological Unit (Unité HydroMétéorologique d'Haïti - UHM) in terms of hydrology, meteorology, data management, and institutional strengthening. An inter-institutional workshop and an open house day of the UHM were respectively organized on October 22 and 23, 2020 with the objective of presenting the institution, its new capacities, and promoting its products. Representatives from several other Haitian institutions participated in the workshop, including the National Geospatial Information Center (Centre National de l'Information Géo-Spatiale - CNIGS), the National Food Security Coordination, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Civil Protection General Directorate, the National Civil Aviation Office, , the Haitian Red Cross, the National electrical company, and the National Directorate of Potable Water and Sanitation. School children from several neighboring schools, academics, and representatives from different institutions also took part in the UHM open house day. Two videos were produced as a result of these two activities, which will serve as visibility to promote the UHM.
- Activities also supported the CNIGS to draft a memorandum of understanding for all actors involved in the development of the new geospatial platform entitled “Haitidata” (www.HaitiData.org). The document listed the type of access, rights, and responsibilities associated to the different users of the platform, and also involved discussions about the mechanisms to support the sustainability of the new platform.
- Finally, a dedicated session on Haiti was organized during the 2020 Understanding Risk Forum , gathering 20 participants and entitled How disaster risk data is driving public investment in Haiti. Specific presentations were made on the following topics (i) investing in LiDAR coverage to develop a Digital Terrain Model (3D model) for Haiti, which included an opening speech by Mr. Boby Piard, General Director of CNIGS; (ii) using digital terrain model to create a flood hazard study for Haiti; and (iii) using flood hazard models and spatial data to identify public investment needs for emergency evacuation shelters.
Finally, the fourth component of this project aims to improve the understanding of impacts of disasters on the poor and women. An analytical note entitled Disaster Shocks in Haiti: Evidence from Wave 2 of a Mobile High Frequency Survey was finalized, outlining the conclusions of the data analysis on exposure to shocks conducted in the frame of the second round of the Haiti Mobile High Frequency Survey. Another draft note is being finalized, which summarizes the key messages on the exposure of Haitian households to floods and droughts, which should be available in the next reporting period.
Partnerships and Coordination
The technical assistance project is undertaken jointly with institutions of the government of Haiti including the Ministries of Interior and Local Authorities (namely the Civil Protection Directorate), Public Works, Agriculture, Education, Social Affairs, Economy and Finance, Planning and External Cooperation, and the National Center for Geospatial Information.
Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility component
Adaptation Facility for Leveraging Investments in Resilience in the Caribbean