Ecuador is at risk to several natural hazards, including floods, landslides, droughts, and earthquakes. After floods, which are often associated with the El Niño phenomenon, landslides are the most frequent natural hazards in Ecuador. Vulnerability to phenomena like El Niño and related disasters such as floods and landslides is exacerbated by the fact that 96% of the urban population live in the coastal and mountainous regions. Insufficient policies and land use planning instruments, environmental deterioration of the river basins, the expansion of farmland, and poorly constructed infrastructure are factors that contribute to the high vulnerability of the country to natural hazards. Historically, political instability has also been a major component of the country's vulnerability to disasters.
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.
- The El Niño of 1997-1998 caused damages of US$280 million, equivalent to approximately 15% of the gross domestic product for 1997, with significant impacts on the health, education, agriculture, and transportation sectors.
- Approximately 48% of the country is affected by soil erosion of different degrees, and the most affected area is the Andean region (70%).
- In November 2009, prolonged drought conditions affected 107,500 people, particularly in the province of Manabi. Subsequently, in February 2010, heavy rains caused floods and landslides affecting nearly 5 thousand families in the country’s coastal provinces.
- In Ecuador, climate extremes are already the most common type of disaster, adversely affecting the population and economy of the country.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- If there is a true correlation between climate change and increases in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the associated extreme weather events, including floods, droughts, and heat waves could produce severe socioeconomic and environmental impacts, including crop failure, forest fires, and reduction in energy security due to interruptions in hydropower generation. Increases in La Nina events might lead to higher incidence of droughts, affecting water supplies and crop production.
- Runoff levels are expected to rise in coastal regions and could affect areas that already experience prevalent floods and landslides, increasing erosion and the occurrence of natural disasters.
- Increases in climate variability, reduction in the length of the rainy season, and uncertain projections of increasing extreme rainfall events can lead to insufficient crop yields. In order to prevent detrimental effects on the economy, support needs to be extended for the implementation of cost-effective risk transfer and risk reduction measures such as the provision of “safety nets” and the development of early warning systems.
- To reduce the loss of lives and destruction of infrastructure during extreme events, spatial management of rural and urban areas as well as housing construction materials, design, and locations need to be improved.
- Government sector ministries should include risk reduction of hazards and vulnerabilities into future planning and concrete actions, including establishing “better multi-sector coordination within the ministries and key stakeholders in order to assure a common approach in disaster prevention management.”