Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, is vulnerable to climate change due to its high exposure to climate-related hazards (hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, droughts, landslides) that devastate crops and critical infrastructure. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch destroyed an estimated 70 percent of the country’s crops and infrastructure, causing more than 10,000 deaths and $3 billion in damage, significantly setting back Honduras’ development process. Honduras has a high rural population (more than 50 percent), of which 65 percent lives in poverty. The rural poor depend on rainfed agriculture as their principle livelihood and are concentrated in the southern and western regions, known as the Dry Corridor, where food insecurity has become a recurrent issue; 58 percent of children under five suffer from chronic undernutrition. In urban areas, migration from rural areas and population growth have pushed settlements into hazard-prone zones that lack water management systems, resulting in frequent flooding and water scarcity in major cities and towns including,Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Choloma and Tela (USAID Climate Risk Profile, 2017).
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.
- Honduras is susceptible to mild earthquakes, damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast.
- Natural disasters exacerbate food insecurity and compromise infrastructure.
- When Hurricane Mitch hit in November 1998 over 2,112,000 people were affected. Sectors including, energy and agriculture sustained severe damages. Total damages were estimated at more than US$ 3,793,600,000. The energy sector alone suffered US$28 million in losses due to physical damages as well as blackouts that were experienced.
- From 2000-2007, flood and storm events have had more severe impacts. The number of people affected has changed with a trend towards increased severity.
- Despite recurrent impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes, the country has still overall a very low adaptive capacity at national, regional and local levels.
- A large proportion of the country’s population remains at severe risk from hydro-meteorological and associated extreme climatic events, such as floods, droughts and landslides, as well as the permanent threat of water resources mismanagement which aggravates reduced water availability.
- Honduras's growing population, especially in urban areas around Tegucigalpa the national capital leads to ever-greater encroachment in areas prone to landslides and flooding.
- Hurricanes and storms are of particular concern for energy infrastructure in Honduras. Changes in patterns of storms could pose aggravated physical damage to dams and power lines.
- Seasonal rising river levels would increase due to increased rainfall variability and intensity during hurricane seasons. Sea level rise may be accompanied by more severe storm surges (which may flood larger areas).
- Climate change makes it imperative that Honduras diversify its energy supplies by investing in renewable energy to diverse domestic generation assets and reduce import dependency. The SREP can help the country access funding to upgrade new energy assets and improve existing infrastructure to enable a more climate resilient growth since earlier and projected climate risks are considered.