Chile is highly exposed and vulnerable to multiple hazards with such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tsunamis as well as hazards which can change due to climate change such as wildfires, floods and landslides, and droughts. Chile has suffered many instances of drought, including a drought between 2008-2015 that affected much of the southern and central areas. Climate change is expected to change the frequency, intensity, exposure, and magnitude of multiple hazards that have historically affected Chile, namely, wildfires, floods and landslides, droughts, and impacts of sea level rise. The accumulation of risks, exposure, and multiple hazards can have important implications for economic growth and development in regions particularly for electricity generation, agriculture, and public health.
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.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Chile has suffered many instances of drought, including a drought between 2008-2015 that affected much of the southern and central areas. Drought impacts human health by changing water availability and food production, agricultural production, energy, mining, among other important sectors. Rising temperatures and changing climatic patterns could impact the incidence of droughts in certain regions.
- The area between Santiago and Puerto Montt are most exposed to fire. Wild fire affects human health, urban populations, forests, agricultural lands, soil health, among other important sectors. Changes in precipitation and water management can leave forested areas vulnerable to wildfires during fire season. Chile was affected by extensive wildfires in 2017.
- Precipitation patterns, land use, wind, glacial and snow melt, and other climatic conditions affect river systems. Flooding can impact human population, energy production, critical infrastructure, agricultural production, and water quality. Most flooding occurs during the rainy season between April and September. However, Chile has recently experienced flash flooding in connection to temperature changes and snow melt.
- Flooding and wildfire events occur with higher frequency while earthquake, the third most frequent disaster represents a significant percentage of mortality and economic damages caused by natural disasters.
- Water resources will be affected by changing temperatures, precipitation regimes, and humidity, which will have long-term implications on the amount and quality of water available.
- Chile is experiencing an increase in the occurrence of forest fires. In 2017 forest fires impacted approximately 1,000,000 acres of vegetation and reached record proportions. (Disaster Management Reference Handbook, 2016)
- The area between Santiago and Puerto Montt are most exposed to fire with an average 3,000-5,000 fires each fire season. Chile was recently affected by extensive wildfires in 2017 which impacted approximately 1,000,000 acres of vegetation and reached record proportions (Disaster Management Reference Handbook, 2016).
- Temperature related hazards are mostly connected with cold temperatures and cold fronts. In 2011, a cold front impacted an estimated 25,000 people in vulnerable conditions (Disaster Management Reference Handbook, 2016).
- Climate change threatens to exacerbate the hydro-meteorological risks such as recurring floods and drought; prolonged drought in turn is projected to worsen the impacts of forest fires.
- While uncertain, projections on rainfall seasonality project an increase in rainfall seasonality and an increase in the annual mean drought index from -0.76 SPEI in 2040-2059 to -1.42 SPEI in 2080-2099.
- Chile’s strategic plan to address disaster risk focuses on four pillars that include institutional strengthening, strengthening monitoring and early warning systems, developing a culture of prevention and resilience building, addressing transversal aspects of disaster risk (including climate change), and investing in preparedness to achieve an effective response. (Chile Strategy for Disaster Risk Management, 2016)
- Disaster risk management has been included in sectoral plans as is the case with the National Energy Strategy, National Water Strategy, and the National Strategy for Climate Change and Vegetation Resources
- While Chile has taken important steps to address disaster risk, it recognizes the importance of addressing social, economic, and other underlying risk factors that lead to vulnerability.