The occurrence of climate-related disasters in Latin America has already increased by a factor of 2.4 since 1970. Panama experiences a series of extreme weather events including intense and protracted rainfalls, windstorms, floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, tropical cyclones, tsunamis, and El Nino Southern Oscillation impacts. Between 1982 and 2008, Panama was struck by 32 natural disaster events, with total economic damages totaling an estimated US$86 million. In addition, loss of human life during these events totaled 249. Panama ranks 14th among countries most exposed to multiple hazards based on land area. The country has 15 percent of its total area exposed and 12.5 percent of its total population vulnerable to two or more hazards. In addition, Panama ranks 35th among countries with the highest percentage of total population considered at relatively high mortality risk from multiple hazards.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a 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.
- Areas vulnerable to natural hazards include the San Blas Archipelago, coastal areas of Bocas del Toro, Colón, and western areas of Panama Province.
- Drought events are exacerbated by the El Niño/ La Niña phenomenon. There are several areas identified as critical and prone to soil degradation and recurrent droughts: el Arco Seco, la Sabana Veraguense, el Corregimiento de Cerro Punta, and la Comarca Ngöbe Buglé.
- Between 2000 and 2006, floods had the highest human and economic impact in Panama. 62,678 people were affected by floods (8 events) with the cost of damages reaching US $8.8 million.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- Given the expected variability in precipitation, it is crucial to improve water storage capacity to utilize excess water from wet years.
- Increased periods of high temperatures might produce recurrent heat waves that could create severe health impacts including the proliferation of diverse pathogens, increased dehydration and other respiratory diseases.
- After 2015, the threat of climatic variability began to be the principle driving force behind the risk of an increased tendency of greater extreme events. This requires integrated assessments and development planning that closely integrate disaster risk planning and climate change adaptation, in particular for food security, energy access, and sustainable development.
- The poorest populations, including vulnerable indigenous populations, will not, and indeed, cannot adapt if this will require looking beyond their immediate food security needs. The potential impacts of climate change on Panama most vulnerable population should be prioritized.