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Latin America & Caribbean

Towards a culture of prevention: Disaster risk reduction begins at home!

Jorge Luis Alva-Luperdi's picture
Also available in: Español

As May 31st comes around yet again, I’m reminded of this date 48 years ago. The peaceful South American country of Peru was going about another normal day… until the clock struck 3:23 pm. Life changed in the blink of an eye, as an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Peruvian regions of Ancash and La Libertad. It was an unimaginable catastrophe. 

The town of Yungay, in Ancash, was almost flattened in just 45 seconds — the earthquake smashed homes, schools, and public infrastructure. The shock of the quake destabilized glaciers on the mountain known as Huascaran, located 15 km east of Yungay, causing millions of cubic meters of rock, ice, and snow to come tearing down at high speeds towards Yungay. Within minutes, the city was buried, along with almost 25,000 of its residents, many of whom had run to church to pray after the earthquake.

This “Great Peruvian Earthquake” of 1970 is a landmark in the history of natural disasters. The overall toll was around 74,000 people dead; about 25,600 people declared missing; 43,000 injured; and many more were left homeless, including thousands of children. Only 350 people survived in Yungay — they had climbed to the town’s elevated cemetery, a curious case of the living seeking refuge among the dead. Elsewhere, a circus clown saved 300 children by taking them to a local stadium.

Effects of Colombia Mayor on health. Good news for social pensions — sort of

Carlos Rodríguez Castelán's picture
Also available in: Español
 



Latin America is aging rapidly. It took nearly a century for the population of those 60 years of age and older to double in most high-income countries. Yet, most Latin American countries will undergo this process in less than 20 years; countries in the region are thus “getting old before getting rich”. These nations will reach a high proportion of older people (a quarter by 2050) before consolidating high-income status and likely without having comprehensive pension programs.
 

A growing burden for women of the ‘sandwich generation’

Lourdes Rodríguez-Chamussy's picture
Also available in: Español

In the 1950s, the Italian-American economist Franco Modigliani introduced his "life cycle" hypothesis.Children and youth on one end, and older adults on the other, consume more than they earn. Sandwiched between both is a working-age group, which does have the capacity for savings (voluntarily or through taxation) to cover, in addition to the needs of their dependent children: their future consumption via pension systems with individual retirement accounts; or consumption by the elderly in the case of pay-as-you go pension systems.

Customs Union between Guatemala and Honduras, from 10 hours to 15 minutes!

Mayra Alfaro de Morán's picture
Also available in: Español

Trading across borders in Central America has been a severe problem for many years. In 2017, cargo trucks used to spend 10 hours to travel less than one kilometer across the borders between Guatemala and Honduras. Such delays at border crossings made trade throughout the region slow and expensive.
 

How to guarantee water access to reduce inequality in Central America

Seynabou Sakho's picture
Also available in: Español

Four years ago, Juan Angel Sandoval, a resident of Barrio Buenos Aires in the Honduran municipality of Siguatepeque, received water at home only three times a week. His was not an isolated reality. Most of his neighbors, were in the same situation. "It was annoying because the water was not enough," says Juan Angel.

As Peru’s agricultural production grows, smallholders long for better markets

David Dudenhoefer's picture
Also available in: Español
 CIP
Native potato varieties that were only consumed in the Andes are now served in Lima's best restaurants and exported as potato chips. Photo: CIP
Peruvian Agriculture has experienced impressive growth over the past two decades, which has contributed to the steady decline in the number of Peruvians living in poverty, yet millions of the country’s smallholders have missed out on that prosperity. A new book on Peru’s agricultural sector offers examples of more equitable approaches to agricultural development, to tap the sector’s full potential for alleviating poverty.

Without empowered women, there is no future for rural areas

Francisco Obreque's picture
Also available in: Español
A beneficiary family from the commmunity of San José del Paredón (in Chuquisaca, Bolivia) celebrates the new irrigation system.
A beneficiary family from the commmunity of San José del Paredón in Bolivia celebrates the new irrigation system. Photo: Gabriela Orozco / World Bank. 

“When the company let us down, we only imposed a fine. We must be firm with companies and with vendors, otherwise they fail to fulfill their end. This is how to move the project forward”. This testimony impressed me a lot when I heard it from an indigenous woman in Bolivia, who was proud to be part of the steering committee and defend the interests of the community in the project.

 
Bolivia has a terrific success story to tell about encouraging rural women to take the lead in their communities and organizations and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

How to prepare a country to respond to a disaster

Diana Rubiano's picture
Also available in: Español
Ecuador is paying more and more attention to data collection and disaster risk management across sectors​.
 Paul Salazar.
The Cruz-Castro Family searching for their belongings after the 2016 earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo: Paul Salazar / World Bank.
Disasters occur worldwide and are part of everyone’s life. Ever since they were first recorded, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes have marked the history of humanity and its evolution. Today, our efforts focus on preparing for and responding to the impacts of these events. This way we can reduce material damages and human suffering.

Disaster risk management is a priority for many countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

How can electricity subsidies help combat poverty in Central America?

Liliana Sousa's picture
Also available in: Español


By Liliana D. Sousa


It might be surprising, but the majority of Central American households receive electricity subsidies, benefiting up to 8 out of 10 households in some cases. Without a doubt, this provides many poor and low-income families with access to affordable electricity.

Resilient Haitian cities – live today but think about tomorrow!

Sameh Wahba's picture


Landing in Port-au-Prince awakens your senses. Exiting the airplane, you are re-energized by the explosion of colors, the welcoming smiles, and the warm weather – particularly when coming from a cold January in Washington, D.C.  Loud honking, a high density of houses and buildings, and streets bustling with pedestrians and small informal businesses are all evidence of the rapid urbanization process in Haiti.
As soon as you land, the challenges of the city are evident; Port-au-Prince expands to the ocean on flat plains exposed to flooding and quickly rises on steep hills with challenging access and risks of landslides and flash floods.  The reconstruction efforts after the earthquake in 2010 are still ongoing, and many of the houses seem to be hanging from the sky, perched on steep slopes. If you look at the houses from afar they appear as a single skyscraper, as distance makes the houses seem as if they are built on top of the one another. These false skyscrapers are highly exposed to landslides, flooding and earthquakes.

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