Cover Image
close this bookA World Safe from Natural Disasters - The Journey of Latin America and the Caribbean (PAHO-OPS, 1994, 111 p.)
close this folderChapter 2: An overview of the region
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe people and their history
View the documentGeography
View the documentClimate
View the documentDemographic trends
View the documentUrbanization
View the documentProduction
View the documentSocioeconomic aspects
View the documentHealth, sanitation, and education
View the documentThe political process
View the documentConclusions


The serious economic crisis, armed civil conflicts, and the absence of democracy in many countries in the Region during the last decade magnified the endemic problems of poverty and unequal access to wealth and basic services. In such an environment, planners and lawmakers have struggled not to lose ground, and have had more urgent matters on their minds than long-term development plans for, or investment in disaster reduction.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in its 1993 report presents an encouraging outlook concerning the economies of the Region. According to the IDB, the challenge is now to initiate a "second generation" of socioeconomic reforms that would combine social equity with long-term growth.

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have an enormous economic potential and an excellent and growing capacity of professionals. By focusing human and material resources on socioeconomic improvements, countries can reduce the vulnerability of their people to natural disasters and achieve genuine reforms in disaster preparedness.