Natural Disasters in the Caribbean

Topics: Caribbean, Caribbean Community, Barbados Pages: 3 (819 words) Published: November 18, 2012
The natural disasters that are typically experienced in the Caribbean can have catastrophic and devastating impacts on the environment, economic development and social structure of these islands. Severe damage to the built infrastructure that has supported communities on Caribbean islands for decades can place a huge strain on economic activity. The social impacts that are experienced following natural disasters consist of homelessness, injury, suffering, sickness, disease, and even death. This paper will introduce the major natural disasters that have affected life in the Caribbean and they include hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, flooding and tsunamis. Other than Barbados, all Windward Islands of the Caribbean are of volcanic origin. Volcanoes are ruptures in the earth’s surface that allow for the escape of lava and gas. The two types of volcanic eruptions, explosive and effusive, can both have devastating consequences on the environment and the Caribbean inhabitants. Although not a common occurrence, several volcanic eruptions have take place on Caribbean islands. For example, an eruption on St. Vincent in 1979 left economic losses of 1 billion dollars, but fortunately no casualties. Flooding is another very impactful natural disaster that is one of the more common types of natural disasters to greatly affect CARICOM countries. Sometimes called the silent killer, flooding can greatly affect socio-economic development. Whether it is coastal or river flooding, it has the ability to greatly damage the agricultural landscape as well as introduce water-borne disease that can lead to death in local inhabitants. There is a disproportionate vulnerability of CARICOM countries to natural disaster demonstrated by the numerous events that have occurred over the last few hundred years. The intrinsic vulnerability is due to the small size of Caribbean islands, their insularity and remoteness, and the economic, environmental and demographic factors that are...
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