The countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are highly vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, including drought, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. In addition, disasters triggered by environmental and industrial incidents, such as forest fires and chemical and oil spills, pose a potential threat. At times, El Southern Oscillation meteorological events and poor land use management exacerbate the effects of potential hazards. Several countries in the region also remain vulnerable to civil unrest and associated humanitarian consequences. Between FY 2000 and FY 2009, USAID/OFDA and (USAID/FFP) have provided humanitarian assistance in response to a range of natural hazards, including flooding in El Salvador, drought in Paraguay, and an oil spill in Ecuador.
Between FY 2000 and FY 2009, USAID/OFDA provided more than $65 million in humanitarian assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean. USAID/FFP provided approximately $169.8 million in emergency food aid. In addition to Washington, D.C.-based staff and a regional office in San Jose, Costa Rica, USAID/OFDA maintains a network of 21 disaster risk management specialists and more than 200 on-call surge capacity response consultants in the region, available for immediate deployment to conduct damage and needs assessments in response to disasters, and to help coordinate U.S. Government emergency response activities throughout the LAC region.
In recent years, USAID deployed multiple humanitarian assessment and response teams throughout the region, including six Disaster Assistance Response Teams (USAID/DARTs) to Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Venezuela, and Caribbean region countries, including Grenada, and Jamaica. USAID activated Washington D.C.-based Response Management Teams to support DART coordination and response efforts. In addition, USAID/OFDA deployed disaster management experts and activated surge capacity consultants for emergencies in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua Panama, Paraguay, and Peru.