State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Mapping Flood Exposure in Southwest Haiti

This three-dimensional animated map depicts the Port-à-Piment watershed in southwest Haiti. It portrays data on topography, human settlements, administrative districts, and flood zones. The animation helps to visualize the intersection between human settlements and flood exposure across the watershed.  Of special interest is the wide variation in slope, elevation, and population density in different parts of the watershed.

After situating the Port-à-Piment watershed within Haiti, the animation shows the boundaries of the communes, which are the third-level administrative unit within Haiti (the equivalent of a U.S. county). It then transitions to a cross-section that illustrates the stark rise in elevation, to 2300 meters above sea level in the space of about 10 kilometers.

The two tributaries that make up the watershed are identified, followed by settlements, denoted in yellow.  The largest settlement is the 5,000-person town of Port-à-Piment, near the mouth of the river, though significant population centers are found all along the river and throughout the watershed.

The next overlay in dark blue outlines the area of high flood risk, the major environmental hazard in this region. The settlements in the watershed have experienced extensive damage from flooding in the past, most often associated with hurricanes and tropical storms in the late summer and fall.

This map was produced as part of ongoing research at CIESIN on environmental risks and integrated development in Haiti.  For more information, go to the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD). _____________________________________________________________________________________

This blog is part of the Map of the Month blog series produced by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). The animated map was made by former intern Jihye Lee, with staff associate Paola Kim-Blanco and program manager Alex Fischer. Development of the blog is coordinated by communications coordinator Elisabeth Sydor.






Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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