Climate risk profile: Jamaica - Fact Sheet
Jamaica is a small Caribbean island with a population of 2.7 million.
Nearly 20 percent of Jamaicans live in poverty. Approximately 90 percent of the country’s $14 billion GDP is produced within its coastal zone, making its economically valuable tourism, industry, fisheries and agriculture assets highly vulnerable to climate variability and change. Weather-related disasters over the past two decades, including those due to droughts, floods, tropical storms and hurricanes, have severely impacted Jamaica’s economic growth. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan damaged key export crops such as sugarcane, banana and coffee with losses of $49 million, prompting many farmers to abandon the agricultural sector. Powerful storms can damage key transport, water supply and energy infrastructure, as well as the infrastructure supporting Jamaica’s flourishing coastal tourism business. With more than half the population residing within a mile of the shoreline, many settlements are at risk.
More intense rainfall events along with flooding can increase the spread of vector-borne and waterborne diseases. Marine ecosystems are threatened by increasing temperatures and rising sea levels, affecting key livelihoods and food security. Reduced rainfall and severe droughts impact the availability of scarce water resources, affecting agriculture and household use. (Citations: 2, 3, 21, 22)