Latin America and the Caribbean - Disaster Risk Reduction Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2014
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) experience a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, landslides, volcanoes, forest fires, and droughts. El Niño and La Niña, extreme phases of natural climate cycles, periodically exacerbate the impacts of hydrometeorological events in the LAC region.
Environmental degradation and poor land-use management also increase populations’ vulnerability to natural hazards.
USAID/OFDA supports DRR programs that save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the social and economic impact of disasters in LAC. These programs include risk identification, prioritization, and reduction, as well as integration of DRR into post-disaster recovery and short-term rehabilitation projects. The focus of DRR funding in LAC is to enhance local and national self-sufficiency in disaster preparedness and management throughout the region. To this end, many of USAID/OFDA’s programs strengthen the capacity of established national and regional disaster management institutions to meet the majority of emergency needs after a catastrophic event.
Established in 1989, the Regional Disaster Assistance Program (RDAP) is the primary vehicle for USAID/OFDA’s support to manage disaster risk in LAC. USAID/OFDA’s team of five regional advisors based in San José, Costa Rica, and a consultant network of 20 disaster risk management specialists dispersed throughout the region oversee and monitor RDAP programs. Since its inception, RDAP has improved the emergency response capacity of disaster management personnel and governments in LAC countries. Over time, USAID/OFDA support has shifted from a strictly instructional approach to providing technical assistance for planning, strengthening, and centralizing the role of national organizations in disaster management. Through RDAP, USAID/OFDA has expanded local and regional capabilities, improved intra- and inter-governmental coordination, and strengthened disaster preparedness, mitigation, and risk management activities.
In addition to the regional office in Costa Rica, USAID/OFDA maintains a field office in Haiti—comprising two program officers—that works to build the capacity of the Government of Haiti to prepare for and respond to disasters and supports community-based preparedness and urban DRR activities.
USAID/OFDA supports DRR activities in LAC through a wide range of programs. In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA provided more than $24.5 million for DRR projects throughout LAC, including programs that integrate DRR with disaster response. The programs discussed herein include both programs funded in FY 2014, as well as ongoing programs funded in previous fiscal years.