Floods and storms are climate-related hazards posing high mortality risk to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations. However risk factors for their lethality remain untested. We conducted an ecological study investigating risk factors for flood and storm lethality in CARICOM nations for the period 1980–2012. Lethality – deaths versus no deaths per disaster event- was the outcome. We examined biophysical and social vulnerability proxies and a decadal effect as predictors.
We developed our regression model via multivariate analysis using a generalized logistic regression model with quasi-binomial distribution; removal of multi-collinear variables and backward elimination. Robustness was checked through subset analysis. We found significant positive associations between lethality, percentage of total land dedicated to agriculture (odds ratio [OR] 1.032; 95% CI: 1.013–1.053) and percentage urban population (OR 1.029, 95% CI 1.003–1.057). Deaths were more likely in the 2000–2012 period versus 1980–1989 (OR 3.708, 95% CI 1.615–8.737). Robustness checks revealed similar coefficients and directions of association. Population health in CARICOM nations is being increasingly impacted by climate-related disasters connected to increasing urbanization and land use patterns. Our findings support the evidence base for setting sustainable development goals (SDG).