Issues of poverty and vulnerability in Kiribati are complex due to its unique national circumstances involving very low rates of long-term employment, high dependence on international aid, and lack of data. In 2010 the Government estimated that around 66% of the population are either in poverty or vulnerable to falling into poverty. This context, combined with the nation’s low food and water security, amplifies its vulnerability to natural hazards, notably the climate variability and extremes driven by El Niño Southern Oscillation.

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.


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.



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
  • Rapid urban growth and densification places strain on water resources and waste management processes, increasing the risk from hazards such as drought and extreme precipitation.
  • Outer islands vulnerability to the unpredictability of climate is high given their dependence on subsistence agriculture and lack of health and education services as well as effective communication channels.
  • Combined natural processes, climate change-induced sea-level rise, and unmanaged development processes are enhancing coastal erosion and increasing inundation risk, including from storm surge.
  • Data on trends of natural hazard frequency and intensity is lacking and available trends are not statistically significant.
  • Drought events are often seen during La Niña years, occurring in 1971, 1985, 1998-1999, and 2007-2009.
  • Tropical cyclones are rare, only three passed within 400km of Kiribati’s main islands between 1969 and 2010.
  • The lack of data and information to monitor change and design effective Disaster Risk Management plans.
  • Kiribati is recognized for having well written plans in place and interacting proactively with international processes on DRM, however, its capacity to implement its commitments and intentions is highly limited.