restricted access Not in the Same Boat: Disasters and Differential Vulnerability in the Insular Caribbean

The Caribbean region is exposed to various natural hazards due to its geographic position and geological situation. Hurricanes, floods, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanoes cause loss of lives and property, disrupt livelihoods, and in some cases erase years of development. But not everyone suffers equally; the frequency and impacts of disasters triggered by natural hazards differ within the region. These differences reflect determinants of vulnerability and capacities, which include access to various natural, physical, economic, human, social, and political resources. Differential access to such resources determines how effectively people deal with hazards and manage disasters. This article summarizes trends in the occurrence of disaster within the Caribbean islands and discusses these trends in terms of the determinants of vulnerability and capacities. The paper calls attention to lessons learned in reducing vulnerability, and enhancing capacities and risk management. In some instances, this requires rethinking current strategies and management practices.