Hurricane Matthew is estimated to be the most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean region in the last decade. The hurricane has already uprooted hundreds of thousands of people in Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica, according to the latest situation report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The total population exposed to Matthew Cyclone is more than 10 million people—roughly equal to the total population of Haiti—and half of these people are vulnerable to the hurricane.
We at Knoema have a special ongoing relationship with the government and people of Haiti, so in today’s Viz of the Day, we are taking a closer look at the potential health and economic effects of Hurricane Matthew for Haiti.
Some of the most densely populated and poorest regions of Haiti, including the departments of Ouest, Nord, and Artibonite, were also among the most exposed to Hurricane Matthew. Preexisting conditions in these geographic areas could have critical implications on the near- and long-term health and recovery of the local populations, including:
Water-borne illnesses. Heavy rains that have caused landslides and flooding not only put lives into immediate jeopardy but elevate the risk of life-threatening water-borne diseases. This is especially critical in Haiti where cholera—the most rapidly fatal water-borne illness—is endemic. Since January 2016, more than 24,000 cases of cholera have been registered in Haiti, with the same departments that were most exposed to the hurricane suffering the highest cholera incidence rates.
Water and sanitation. About half of the rural population in Haiti relies on unimproved water sources, while as much as 80 percent of the population does not have access to improved sanitation. Together, these factors will only further hinder recovery for the people in these regions.
Estimating the financial consequences of the storm is more art that science at this time. In the case of the Haitian economy, which is among the 20 smallest in the world based on GDP per capita, two natural disasters in the region during the last decade provide some context for the level of potential economic costs:
The 2010 earthquake. In 2010, an earthquake in Haiti caused economic losses of $7.8 billion - a value that is almost equal to the GDP of Haiti. That same year, Haiti received $4 billion in aid disbursements from donors that helped support the country’s initial recovery. Even with that support, it took almost two years before the GDP of Haiti recovered to its pre-earthquake level after a 6 percent decrease in 2010 and the country still has not fully recovered. An estimated 55,000 people remain internally displaced and extensive infrastructure damage remains.
Hurricane Felix. Prior to Matthew, Hurricane Felix in 2008 was the most powerful hurricane to hit the region. Felix cost Nicaragua—with an economy 1.5 times larger than Haiti’s—$713 million in damages and losses and a 3 percent decrease in GDP.
The worst drought to affect South Africa in the last century is further damaging the economic strength of the county's sugar sector. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, South Africa was expected to harvest 1.61 million metric tons of sugar during the 2016/2017 marketing year, a decrease of 5.5 percent from the previous marketing year and the lowest marketed-yield since 1995. Sugar producers are already grappling with competition from cheap imports, forcing some mills to remain closed and reducing employment in the sector.Note: Precipitation amounts less than 0.5 mm have been replaced with "0" values.
The International Conference on Integrated Natural Disaster Management (INDM) series conference is the largest of its kind in Iran and in the region with a platform for sharing knowledge, experience and discussing strategic and operational level issues for reducing the disaster risks and mitigation and adaptation to climate change impact. The 8th INDM conference will bring together more than 900 participants including speakers, scientists, experts, policymakers, practitioners, the private sector and other key players Iran and different neighboring countries. The participants will have the possibility to attend different sessions,...
North America’s vulnerability to a variety of natural disasters has dominated media coverage in recent weeks. While Hurricane Harvey continued its path across Texas and Louisiana, Mexico was struck by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake, which was then swept out of the headlines as Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean and Southeastern United States. Meanwhile, between the headlines, you may have read about forest fires raging in Canada and the US, recently consuming historic landmarks in Glacier National Park. While the debate intensifies as to the role of climate change in these extreme weather events, we decided to locate and highlight...
An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is broadly defined by experts as the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves. At the Earth’s surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides and occasionally volcanic activity. The reality of the more severe earthquakes are loss of human life and economic costs that can cripple already fragile economies and weaken the social and...