The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) underlines that the Caribbean is particularly vulnerable towards climate related hazards and the projected impacts are expected to be devastating due to limited adaptive capacity of small islands and low-lying coastal states.
Over the past 30 years in the Caribbean, floods and tropical storm damage affected 1.5 million people directly and caused over USD 5 billion in damage. The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events stresses societies and natural systems.
A number of devastating earthquakes and powerful storms made 2016 the costliest twelve months for natural catastrophe losses in the last four years. Losses totalled US$ 175bn, a good two-thirds more than in the previous year, and very nearly as high as the figure for 2012 (US$ 180bn). The share of uninsured losses – the so-called protection or insurance gap – remained substantial at around 70%. Almost 30% of the losses, some US$ 50bn, were insured.
Explanation for the interpretation of loss data statistics
Number statistics and loss thresholds
Number statistics are influenced by a constantly improved reporting of small-scale loss events over the time (reporting bias). There is a need to distinguish between registered and relevant loss events.
Losses from natural catastrophes in 2015 were again lower than in the previous year. The natural climate phenomenon El Niño reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, while it brought major floods and heatwaves to many developing and emerging countries. The deadliest catastrophe, and also the costliest in terms of overall losses, was the Nepal earthquake in April, where some 9,000 people lost their lives and overall losses totalled US$ 4.8bn.