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Open AccessArticle

An Assessment of the Relationships between Extreme Weather Events, Vulnerability, and the Impacts on Human Wellbeing in Latin America

1
Instituto de Ecología y Ciencias Ambientales (IECA), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
2
School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
3
Sustainable Development and Climate Change Management (FTZ-NK), Research and Transfer Centre (FTZ-NK), Faculty of Life Science, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW), Ulmenliet 20, D-21033 Hamburg, Germany
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Department of Biology & CESAM Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
5
Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1802; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091802
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 15 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather Events and Health)
Climate change and variability are known to have an influence on human wellbeing in a variety of ways. In Latin America, such forces are especially conspicuous, particularly in respect of extreme climatological, hydrological, and weather events (EWEs) and climate-sensitive disasters (CSDs). Consistent with the need to study further such connections, this paper presents an analysis of some of the vulnerabilities of environmental health issues and climate-related impacts that are focusing on EWEs and CSDs in Latin American countries. The research includes an analysis of the (i) human and socio-economic development; (ii) geographical and socio-economic determinants of vulnerability and adaptability of environmental health issues (exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity); (iii) occurrence of CSDs from 1988 to 2017 and their direct impacts on human wellbeing (Total death and Affected people); (iv) an online survey on the perceptions of the effects of EWEs on human wellbeing in a sample of countries in the region; and (v) discussion of possible solutions. The socio-economic and development indices, and the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT) and Climate-Risk Index (CRI) disaster statistics suggest that the impacts of CSDs are primarily related to socio-economic determinants of human wellbeing and health inequalities. Also, >80% respondents to the survey say that the leading causes of climate-related human impacts are the lack of (i) public awareness; (ii) investment and (iii) preparedness. The paper concludes by adding some suggestions that show how countries in Latin America may better cope with the impacts of Climate-sensitive Disasters. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate disasters; wellbeing; environmental health; climate change; vulnerability; climate change adaptation; socioeconomic determinants; geographical determinants; sustainable development; online survey climate disasters; wellbeing; environmental health; climate change; vulnerability; climate change adaptation; socioeconomic determinants; geographical determinants; sustainable development; online survey
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Nagy, G.J.; Filho, W.L.; Azeiteiro, U.M.; Heimfarth, J.; Verocai, J.E.; Li, C. An Assessment of the Relationships between Extreme Weather Events, Vulnerability, and the Impacts on Human Wellbeing in Latin America. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1802.

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