Country

Belize

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Belize.

Vulnerability

Belize is vulnerable to hurricanes, storms and associated flooding, wind damage, and storm surge, especially in Belize City. The country’s low-lying terrain exacerbates the effects of flooding and sea level rise. Belize is also at risk to extreme temperature events. According to the Natural Disaster Hotspot study by the World Bank, Belize is the 61st highest exposed country for relative mortality risk from multiple hazards in the world and ranked 8th out of 167 countries for climate risk.

This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.

Natural Hazard Statistics

The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

This tool allows the overlay of different natural hazard maps with social economic datasets by sliding the bar horizontally, which provides a broad sense of vulnerable areas.

 
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Key Vulnerabilities

  • Belize is a country prone to cyclone events and has experienced 14 storm events during the period 1931- 2010, with tremendous damage to the agriculture and tourism sectors specifically.
  • The country’s low-lying terrain in coastal areas enhances areas prone to flooding as a consequence of hurricanes and other storms.
  • Belize is at risk to flooding when its many rivers (that originate in the high mountains in the east) are impacted by torrential rainfall. 
  • Belize’s major infrastructure such as public buildings, health, commercial and transportation facilities are located on or near the coast, which makes them extremely susceptible to sea level rise.  
  • Some areas of Belize experience drought conditions on a yearly basis. The projected increases in temperature make it highly likely that these areas will experience drought conditions.  

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • Hurricanes and tropical storms are the principal hazards affecting Belize, causing severe losses from wind damage and flooding due to storm surge and heavy rainfall.  
  • Projected increases in storm intensity will have impacts on the economic sectors across the country.  
  • Belize City is especially vulnerable to flood damage due to its low-lying land and exposed positions on the coast. 
  • Storm hazards are expected to become stronger and develop more rapidly; greater variations in precipitation are predicted to result in droughts and floods. 
  • Climate change models have predicted that Belize will undergo a warming and drying trend and is expected to endure more frequent heat waves and droughts, rainfall with increased intensity and rising sea levels as predicted for the rest of the Caribbean consistent with the projected global median. 
  • Changes in sea surface temperatures as a result of climate change variability could increase the intensity of cyclones and heighten storm surges, which in turn will cause more damaging flood conditions in coastal zones and low-lying areas.