Natural Disasters in Latin America Blamed in Part on Climate Change
2007 has been a brutal year for natural disasters in Latin America, keeping theUnited Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs busy. The agency said in a recent statement that a record nine missions were dispatched to Latin America this year. "Seventy percent of the total were in response to hurricanes and floods, possibly a glimpse of the shape of things to come, given the reality of climate change," it said. Overall the office dispatched 14 missions around the globe -- a higher than usual number.
The natural disasters in Latin America varied in scale and affected more than eight countries. Heavy rains pounded Mexico's Tabasco state, leaving floods that lasted for weeks, covering large parts of the city of Villahermosa. Tropical storm Noel triggered flash floods in the Dominican Republic that killed dozens, while Honduras and Nicaragua faced the category-five hurricane Felix. Uruguay suffered its worst flooding in 50 years and hundreds of thousands of Bolivians were inundated and crops ruined early in the year.
A UN disaster team sent to the region also assisted with the relief effort following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake along the Peruvian coast. The UN isn't the only agency to recognize the upward trend this year. Oxfam also recently released a report.:: Photo credit: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. The Guardian