Vulnerability

Guyana is most at risk to floods and droughts. Guyana has experienced many floods in recent years that are heavily influenced by La Niña events. The country’s low-lying coastline, which in some areas is 2 m below sea level, causes flooding to be an imminent threat. Sea level rise will lead to inundation of coastal areas, saline intrusion into surface and ground water sources and overtopping of existing sea defenses.

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.

Metadata

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.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

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.


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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.

Key Vulnerabilities
  • During the hurricane season Guyana is sometimes affected by tropical waves moving through the Atlantic, inducing heavy rainfall which causes flooding in coastal communities.
  • Guyana is affected by drought on an annual basis, which is heavily influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Projected increases in temperature are highly likely to further exacerbate the impacts of drought.
  • Guyana's low-lying coastal plains are vulnerable to sea-level rise.

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • Guyana is regularly affected by flooding caused by heavy rainfall or overflowing riverbanks. 90% of the population and economic sectors are affected by the impacts of flooding. Approximately 85% of Guyana’s population is located on the coast.
  • Sea level rise and salt-water intrusion will increase salinity affecting the countries water resources based on projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 5th Assessment Report. Strategic action has to be undertaken with some urgency to build resilience and to raise the level of public awareness.
  • Short term actions 2010–2015:
    • Revising, refining and updating existing building codes and designating overall responsibility for the environment.
    • Rehabilitation/strengthening of sea defenses, particularly in most vulnerable areas.
    • Community education and awareness programs.
    • Development and on-going maintenance of early warning systems in vulnerable areas.
    • Designating a single authority for hazard and vulnerability mapping.
  • Medium term actions 2015-2025:
    • Introduction of planning and policy measures to locate new developments away from flood prone areas.
    • Devising guideline, standards or incentives for passive design principles.
    • Developing a flood preparedness and response strategy with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that cover all vulnerable sectors including health.
    • Wetland/mangrove restoration as a natural sea defense.
    • Institutional strengthening and capacity building.
  • Long term actions 2026 and beyond:
    • Implementation and enforcement of regulations for climate-proof buildings.
    • Evacuation plans, where necessary, to manage the retreat of populations most vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and coastal flooding.