Which Latin American cities are the most vulnerable to climate change?

Modification in precipitation patterns, deglaciation processes, and rising sea levels are some of the reasons why large urban centers represent great vulnerability

La Paz, Bolivia

Rainfall patters have changed in such a way that the risk of floods and droughts has become greater. During 2015, São Paulo suffered one of the most severe droughts of the last 80 years. In addition, a deficient water management and poor infrastructure, managed to bring the contents of the Cantareira reservoir, one of the most important in the region, to 6% of its capacity. During this event, 5.3 million people were also affected.

On the other hand, the increase in temperatures has affected the Andean glaciers. Since the 1970’s, various bodies of water in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia have been reduced by about 30% to 50%. Their disappearance represents a great challenge in the management of liquid resources. Cities like Arequipa, La Paz, and Quito depend on snowmelt and moorlands for freshwater supplies.

It’s important to remember that 60 of the 77 largest urban centers in Latin America are located in coastal areas. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and aquifer pollution are just a few of the impacts on the population of these cities.

However, Latin America's effects, due to climate change, are not only consequence of extreme natural events. Poorly planned urban growth and management are also important factors when assessing the vulnerability of the region. People must learn about the negative aspects and demand governments to manage resources adequately in order to build more resilient cities.

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Iguavita
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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