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Climate risk profile: Eastern and Southern Caribbean - Fact Sheet

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USAID’s development assistance in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region extends to 10 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana. The high vulnerability to, and potential for, climate impacts throughout the region often drives direct integration of climate risk management into country and regional planning and processes. However, development and capacity levels vary throughout the region, as do the industries central to each economy. Rates of poverty range from as low as 9% in Barbados to as high as 70% in Suriname. For most of the island countries, tourism is the largest industry, though exports most heavily drive gross domestic product (GDP) in Trinidad and Tobago (oil and gas; 40%), Guyana (sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice; 60%), and Suriname (oil and gold; 65%). Despite varied topography throughout the region, with some islands small and flat and others mountainous, the countries share many climate vulnerabilities and risks. Population and key infrastructure are typically in coastal areas, facing increased risk from tropical storms and sea level rise. Quantity and quality of both surface- and groundwater may be compromised by changing rainfall patterns and sea level rise. Ocean warming and acidification threaten coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangroves. The smaller island countries are most vulnerable to sea level rise and salt water intrusion, and the region’s northern islands are frequently affected by hurricanes and tropical storms, with three significant hurricanes and one tropical storm hitting the region in 2017. Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 95% of properties in Barbuda. In Dominica, Hurricane Maria caused 31 deaths as of November 2017 and led to about $1.37 billion in damages and losses (226% of GDP) including widespread water and power loss (3,8,11,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35)