Country

Tuvalu

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 Tuvalu.

Vulnerability

On average, one tropical cyclone passes within 400km of Tuvalu’s islands per year. Cyclone frequency is highly variable and multiple cyclones have been known to hit in quick succession. Cyclones expose Tuvalu to high wind speeds, extreme precipitation, and storm surges, all of which cause significant economic and social damage. Cyclone Pam, which struck Tuvalu’s northern islands in 2015 caused damages that resulted in more than 25% of national GDP. Around 26% of Tuvalu’s population lives below the national poverty line, and a majority of the nation’s limited land area is devoted to subsistence agriculture. Climate variability and limited terrestrial resource stores also mean Tuvalu has low food and water security. These features result in low levels of resilience to natural hazards and a heavy reliance on international aid during disasters.

This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment 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

This tool allows the overlay of different natural hazard maps with social economic datasets by sliding the bar horizontally, which provides a broad sense of vulnerable areas.

 
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Key Vulnerabilities

  • Key national infrastructure including government buildings, utility infrastructure, and the airport lie in an area exposed to storm surge and tidal flooding. Significant damage has been caused by previous disasters. Human development and particularly sand mining in coastal areas has further weakened coastal defenses and increased vulnerability to storm surges.
  • Coral reefs form a key part of Tuvalu’s coastal defenses and economic productivity through their contribution to local fish stocks. Climate change has exacerbated reef exposure to bleaching events, compounding the damage already inflicted by human practices.
  • Fresh water reserves are extremely limited and saline intrusion can reduce the quality of groundwater reserves. Drought episodes can lead to loss of livestock and crops. Unmet human need must be met through international assistance.
  • No statistically significant changes in cyclone frequency have been detected. High inter-annual variability in occurrence makes measurement difficult over decadal time periods.
  • No statistically significant changes in drought and extreme precipitation events have been measured.
  • Tuvalu’s National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016 to 2020 (2016) has an ambition to implement a ‘build back better’ approach to disaster recovery, particularly following cyclones. This process is inhibited by the substantial costs involved in replacing and upgrading infrastructure.
  • The government of Tuvalu is exploring disaster risk finance options and risk transfer mechanisms designed to spread the costs of natural hazards and ease the burden on poorer groups.
  • Tuvalu has established Island Disaster Committees for every island to delegate implementation of disaster risk management measures and help co-ordinate action with the National Disaster Relief Coordination unit.