Ranking 5th among countries with the highest economic risk exposure to three or more hazards, 83.3% of Guatemala’s gross domestic product is located in at-risk areas. The country also ranks in the top five countries in the world most affected by floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, with 40.8% of the population exposed to five or more threats simultaneously. Exposure in Guatemala is to both low frequency and high impact events, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes, and to high frequency and low impact events, such as floods and landslides.
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.
- Flooding and landslides have numerous drivers, including the overflow of rivers and streams during storms and the rainy season. The lack of sewage systems in many regions and the discharge of waste into water bodies during flood events present serious environmental and health risks.
- Guatemala's location between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean makes it a target for hurricanes; however, most of the damage that occurs is not due to wind, but to flooding and landslides.
- The area known as the Corredor Seco or the dry corridor encompasses six provinces in Guatemala and is the hardest hit by frequent droughts. It is also the area where poverty is the highest.
- Guatemala's densely populated highlands lie along the Montague Fault, which is part of the boundary between the Caribbean and North American Tectonic Plates. This fault has been responsible for several major earthquakes in historic times, including a 7.5 magnitude tremor on February 4, 1976, which killed 23,000 people.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- An increase in temperature and precipitation under future climate trends might increase tropical disease vectors, thus requiring improvements to the health care institutional framework.
- 40 percent of the rural population does not have household water connection, making these groups especially vulnerable to future climate induced droughts.
- Urban and rural growth patterns hinder risk reduction due to the lack of disaster risk reduction measures in local land use plans and construction codes. Under future possible trends of increased flooding and landslides, these populations may be unable to respond quickly and effectively to curtail risk.
- Future climate trends showing increased precipitation threatens areas already prone to flooding and landslides, as many of these areas have inadequate road construction and inappropriate land use.