Vulnerability of the north coast of Trinidad against natural and man-made threats


One major consideration for the sustainable development of a country is climate change, climate variations and their likely impacts. Natural disasters are associated with climate variability and climate change and drive the alterations observed with natural and human systems. To adequately address these issues, vulnerability assessments can be carried out to identify the hazards and threats in the system and the policies and strategies to deal with them. In this way, the resources necessary to deal with the social and economic impacts of threats could be identified proactively and the valuable assets of a country such as the fishing, agricultural and tourism sectors could be protected.

For Trinidad & Tobago and the wider Caribbean, these natural threats include flooding, hurricanes, storm surges, sea level rise, earthquakes & tsunamis and landslides. The impacts of these hazards include loss of life, economic losses, property damage, destruction of buildings & other structures and threats to floral and faunal species.

The northern coastline of Trinidad, the southernmost island in the Caribbean archipelago is exposed to the range of threats affecting the region. The vulnerability assessment of the north coast of Trinidad identified the threats and their impacts to the coastal zone. The study area was delineated into individual grids and the characteristics of the area were identified. The main susceptible assets in the coastal zone were detailed including population settlements, land usages for agriculture, tourism and recreation, fisheries, critical lifeline structures and the natural environment. The key vulnerability issues were identified as low income clustered settlement patterns near the coast, poor housing construction, poor land use planning and inferior construction of critical infrastructure.

Thus, the project report revealed that the north coast of Trinidad is indeed vulnerable to natural threats and addressing proper enforcement of policies, technical strategies and regulations are necessary to reduce future vulnerability of the coastline that is due to worsening impacts and economic losses of valuable coastal assets.


Shamila Ragoobir