Tue | Apr 24, 2018

Haiti prone to climate change-related disasters

Published:Thursday | November 14, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Locals walk across the flooded streets of La Plaine, Haiti, after the passage of Hurricane Sandy, which claimed three lives in that country. - AP

The Caribbean nation of Haiti, the Western Hemi-sphere's poorest, is the country most affected by climate-related catastrophes in the decade ending 2012, according to a report released here.

The report, titled 'The 9th annual Global Climate Risk Index' states that the major share of economic and human burden of weather catastrophes was on developing countries.

The release of the report, which was prepared by Germanwatch, was overshadowed by the ongoing human catastrophe in the Philippines, where 10,000 persons are feared dead as a result of Typhoon Haiyan last weekend.

Germanwatch advocates for "a political, economic and social framework which can ensure a future for the people of the South, who are being pushed to the margins of society through unbridled globalisation and whose very existence is threatened by the loss of their ecological and economic foundations of their livelihoods".

"The index shows that the most severe weather-related catastrophes in 2012 occurred in Haiti, Philippines, and Pakistan", Ssnke Kreft, team leader International Climate Policy at Germanwatch and co-author of the index said.

"The landfall of Hurricane Sandy in the US dominated international news in October 2012. Yet, it was Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, that suffered the greatest losses from the same event," Kreft noted.


Sandy struck Haiti at a time when 350,000 people in the capital, Port-au-Prince, were still living in camps for displaced refugees, three years after a devastating earthquake.

The storm unleashed 20 inches of rain on the country, killed 52 people, flooded much of the country's south, and displaced over 18,000 families.

The Philippines comes second in the 2014 Climate Risk Index.

"The unfolding human tragedy caused by super-Typhoon Haiyan will only be captured in future reports. The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 tells the story of a country constantly battered by climate-related catastrophes", explains Kreft.

Pakistan, the third-ranked country, has been among the three most affected countries worldwide for three consecutive years.

The report states that, for the last 20 years, the 10 most affected countries were without exception developing nations, with Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti taking the brunt during the period 1993-2012.