Washington DC - Over the weekend, Tropical Storm Laura pummeled Haiti and the Dominican Republic leaving at least 13 dead, infrastructure decimated and towns isolated by landslides.
"The damage is quite serious across Haiti," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group, Jubilee USA Network. "Already Haiti was reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus, high poverty and soaring debts."
Haiti struggles with more than $2 billion in debt as nearly 60% of its 10 million people live in poverty. Due to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the International Monetary Fund cancelled 6 months or $5.1 million of Haiti's debt in April. Haiti also received $111 million in concessional IMF loans to confront the coronavirus crisis. Haiti has not requested a pandemic debt payment suspension that it qualified for from G20 countries.
"Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and more than 90% of its people are highly vulnerable to natural disasters," shared LeCompte. "Haiti's wealthier neighbor on the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic was also hit hard by Tropical Storm Laura as it struggles with the economic impacts of the coronavirus."
The Dominican Republic received $650 million this year in emergency COVID-19 financing from the IMF and counts its debt above $23 billion.