Country

Vanuatu

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 Vanuatu.

Vulnerability

Overall risks from climate-related impacts are evaluated based on the interaction of climate-related hazards (including hazardous events and trends) with the vulnerability of communities (susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to adapt), and exposure of human and natural systems. Changes in both the climate system and socioeconomic processes -including adaptation and mitigation actions- are drivers of hazards, exposure, and vulnerability (IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014).

According to a 1998 Commonwealth Secretariat Report, Vanuatu is one of the most vulnerable nations in the South Pacific. Hazards include droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones.

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

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

  • Wet season rainfall provides the majority of water supplies to the smaller islands of Vanuatu. However, El Niño conditions in this part of the Pacific can shift rainfall patterns, causing significant decrease in rainfall and leading to drought conditions.
  • Droughts are especially damaging in the more remote islands lacking sufficient rain-water harvesting/storage capacity to withstand dry periods, as is the case with most of the southern islands.
  • The country’s National Adaptation Programme of Action notes the special vulnerability to drought conditions of the western region of Tanna, with significant impacts on both agricultural productivity and the important tourism sector.
  • The cyclone season in Vanuatu extends from November to April. Between 1990 and 1999, Vanuatu experienced more cyclones than any other Pacific country, at an average of 2.6 annually.
  • The shoreline erosion caused by sea-level rise is already a significant problem in the coral atolls and small islands of the Torba and Malampa provinces. 
  • Sea level rise compounds an already vulnerable environment that is subject to some natural subsidence as well as tectonic activity and shoreline changes with successive earthquakes and tsunamis.

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • More frequent El Niño events could increase the intensity and occurrence of these drought events, with important implications for disaster management and response in Vanuatu.
  • Sea level rise compounds an already vulnerable environment that is subject some natural subsidence as well as tectonic activity and shoreline changes with successive earthquakes and tsunamis.
  • Shoreline erosion caused by sea level rise is already a significant problem in the coral atolls and small islands. However, the impacts of sea level rise along many of the country’s islands is likely to be less pronounced than in other Pacific Island nations due to their higher elevations.