In a region already prone to natural disasters, the impact of climate change is an additional threat, further endangering the lives of children and families, inflicting an insidious toll.
In Latin America and the Caribbean UNICEF applies its extensive experience and expertise in emergency response, to protect children by acting before emergencies happen.
The annual hurricane season struck with particular ferocity in 2007, uncharacteristically beginning with 2 consecutive category 5 hurricanes (Dean and Felix), causing the fiercest storms in more than 100 years and the worst flooding in Mexico in over 50 years, prompting the government to ask the UN for emergency assistance for the first time since 1990.
Regional flooding, forest fires in Paraguay, an earthquake in Chile, another in Peru, the threat of volcanic eruptions in Ecuador and Colombia, are part of a scenario that despite improvement in some government-led preparedness and disaster-response systems, still cause severe hardships for the most vulnerable.
Emergencies cause days of havoc and years of distress. 2007 was no exception. In LAC last year; approximately 1,000 people died, more than 10,000 were injured, and over 100,000 were left homeless due to natural disasters, which also inflicted economic losses amounting to almost US$ 10 billion.
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