Central America and the Caribbean

Central America, more than 500,000 square kilometres in size, is home to over 40 million people. The region has not only suffered from violent conflicts and economic crises but is also prone to a wide range of natural hazards, including seismic and tectonic activities, floods, tsunamis, droughts and tropical storms.
With three active tectonic faults (the Cocos, Caribbean and Nazca plates) and 27 active volcanoes – and situated on the western edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt – Central America is among the world's most disaster-prone areas (Uribe et al, 1999). Some 49 tsunamis occured along Central America's Caribbean and Pacific coasts between 1539-1996. Striking in 1992, the Nicaraguan tsunami generated a 9.5-metre seawave (Fernandez et al., 2000). Mountainous terrain and intricate river basin systems are susceptible to landslides and floods.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch, whose devastating effects stretched across Central America, came to symbolize the region's vulnerability. The equivalent of one year's worth of precipitation fell in less than a week, prompting floods, mudslides and landslides. Some 10,000 people lost their lives. In 2010, the Atlantic hurricane basin experienced 12 hurricanes, including six storms rated category 3 or higher, causing an estimated 10 billion US dollars in damages.


Central America includes Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Caribbean includes Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (French part), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten (Dutch part), Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands.


cental america and carribean

Disclaimer. The results contained in this website were produced within the CATALYST project "Capacity Development for Hazard Risk Reduction and Adaptation" funded under the FP7 by the European Commission. This website is the sole responsiblity of the CATALYST Project and does not represent the opinion of the European Community nor is the European community responsible for any use that might be made of the data appearing herein.
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