According to think tank Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk Index 2020, the Caribbean archipelago is the “most-affected country” from 1999 to 2018, followed by Myanmar at No. 2 and Haiti at No. 3. The two Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico and Haiti, are the only Latin American entities to make the list.
The study takes into account both the number of weather-related events as well as the impact, including death toll, of the catastrophes in the 20-year period.
In 2017, the Category 4 Hurricane María covered almost the entire archipelago, completely destroying its infrastructure, leaving most of the people without electricity for months, thousands dead and even more homeless.
“The Climate Risk Index may serve as a red flag for already existing vulnerabilities that may further increase as extreme events will become more frequent or more severe due to climate change,” the report reads.
According to the study, poor and developing countries are most vulnerable to climate risks and are often hit the hardest, seeing higher rates of deaths and hardships. Despite this, researchers also found that high-income countries are also feeling climate impacts more than ever before.