Trinidad & Tobago

Capital: Port of Spain
Population: 1,227,505
Land Surface: 5,128 km2
Population Density: 239.4 persons/km2
Urban Population: 15.2%
Population Growth Rate: 3.4%
Currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollar


The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying northeast of the South American country of Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. It shares maritime boundaries with other nations including Barbados to the northeast, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.

The twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is located in the extreme south of the Caribbean. Due to its location, there is relatively little risk from hurricanes compared to the other Caribbean islands to the north. Tobago had only experienced two hurricanes since 1963, and Tobago had never been seriously affected. In September 2004, however, hurricane Ivan caused widespread damage. Populations in the low-lying coastal areas of Tobago had to be evacuated to shelters.

Other hazards facing the islands are tropical storms and the associated heavy rainfalls which result in flooding and landslides. In November 2004, two people were killed and five were wounded in a landslide after six hours of heavy rain. The clearing and burning of hillsides has shown an increase in soil erosion, floodings and landslides. Furthermore, the islands are prone to occasional earthquakes. The most recent ones occurred in Tobago in 1997, causing extensive damage, in Trinidad in October 2000 (measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale) and in Tobago in December 2004 (measuring between 5.0 and 5.4 on the Richter scale). Also, both islands are at risk of droughts.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), operating under the aegis of the Ministry of National Security, plays the most important role in the national disaster management system. It was established in 1988 and its primary function is planning and coordination, working with the established services to facilitate a coherent disaster management approach. The first responders to emergencies therefore remain the police, firefighters and emergency health services. Only when the mandates of these agencies are exceeded due to the scope of the event, NEMA’s Task Force is activated. This then represents all organizations in the field of search and rescue, health, telecommunications, traffic control and general logistics, among others.

NEMA is furthermore involved in the monitoring of hazard mitigation programmes, undertaking training and simulation exercises, disseminating public information and producing vulnerability assessments.

The national disaster management system is undergoing a process of restructuring. NEMA will soon be replaced by a new body which will be known as the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM).


All content of this page: © Copyright International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (EIRD), 2012 & © Copyright World Health Organization (WHO), 2012. All Rights Reserved. View original facts page by clicking here.

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