Jamaica’s vulnerability to natural hazards – including hurricanes, storms, floods, landslides and earthquakes - because of its physical location and its geography, is a challenge to economic growth and social development. This is exacerbated by the impacts of climate change on the small island developing state.
A 2008 World Bank report on Natural Disaster Hotspot indicated that Jamaica has the second highest economic risk exposure to two or more hazards. More than 90 percent of the population, and more than 95 percent of GDP is exposed to two or more hazards.
Environmental degradation, unplanned development, weak enforcement of building code and zoning regulations, lack of awareness, and rapid population growth in coastal urban centres, clearly demonstrate Jamaica’s high risk of significant impacts from natural hazards.
Poor management of land and water resources and resultant environmental degradation, poverty and failure to enforce building and zoning regulations and rapid growth of human settlements in vulnerable areas, all increase the challenges faced in disaster risk reduction and management.