Country

Haiti

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 Haiti.

Vulnerability

Haiti’s geographic location in the path of Atlantic hurricanes, combined with the steep topography of its western region from which all major river systems flow to the coast, makes the country particularly vulnerable to hydrometeorological disasters, especially between June and December. Landslides are common along all river valleys where years of deforestation have left the upper reaches of the western basins bare. The major natural hazards that threaten Haiti are cyclones, floods, droughts, and landslides, with floods leading as the greatest threat and contributor to vulnerability. The country’s most populated cities are all nestled in the valleys along the coast. When it rains, the steep, often barren hills that surround them flush rainwater toward the urban areas. Widespread deforestation in the upper reaches of these valleys, coupled with lacking drainage infrastructure, creates an environment conducive to flooding.

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

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.

 
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Key Vulnerabilities

  • ​​​​​​Over the past 30 years, Haiti has been hit by six hurricanes, and while most of this small island nation is affected, the West and South Departments lie in the path of the strongest hurricanes.
  • The capital city of Port-au-Prince is particularly vulnerable to flooding, with a large portion of its inhabitants residing on flood plains in poorly constructed housing. Waste management is under-developed, leading to increased risk from water-borne diseases.
  • High deforestation rates, coupled with intense rainfall, make landslides commonplace and particularly dangerous in the steep sloping lands.
  • The North-West, Artibonite, North-East, and Central departments frequently experience repeated droughts, brought about by a combination of erratic rainfall patterns coupled with limited water management infrastructure.

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • Missing or poorly managed water infrastructure makes the agricultural regions and hence, the livelihoods that depend on them, particularly vulnerable to a changing climate. More erratic and unpredictable rainfall patterns will place greater strain on planting choices and timing. 
  • Projected increases in temperature, coupled with decreases in rainfall during the critical summer months of June-August are likely to intensify drought conditions in the center of the country. Building resilience in the farming sector to address increased evapotranspiration and water scarcity during these months will be critical to efforts to support food security.
  • Increased hurricane intensity as a product of climate change under future climate conditions is still a matter of debate among the scientific community. Nevertheless, according to the Intergovernmental Panel’s Fourth Assessment Report, increased hurricane wind intensities (5-10% by 2050) are likely, with core precipitation increases of 25%. Increased wind and rainfall intensities are likely to lead to higher and more violent storm surges.
  • An effective early warning system to warn and prepare farmers to confront extreme weather events could reduce the impacts of these weather shocks in the farming system.