Country

Guatemala

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 Guatemala.

Vulnerability

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.

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

  • 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.