Narration: Joy Ng
VO: This is what’s known as the Dry Corridor, covering Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Over the last ten years, this historically dry region of Central America has been hit by the effects of climate change. Extreme weather, like prolonged droughts, are taking its toll on the region’s agriculture. Regions in the Dry Corridor experience severe drought during the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle. For example, El Salvador has seen persistent droughts each year between 2012 and 2018, which has impacted the livelihoods of local farmers. Cirilo: If it continues as it is today, I will have to leave again because there is no work here. One can’t survive in El Salvador under these conditions. VO: To identify which farmers are experiencing significant loss, local insurance providers combine satellite data to figure out where to direct financial protection. Local insurance agencies have been using NASA data on precipitation to get a better a picture of the climatic conditions in order to implement index insurance. Index insurance pays out benefits based on a predetermined index, such as the amount of rainfall in a region. Llabres: We try to assess which are the most important risks for the whole country, and in many cases those are climate-related and are aggravated by climate change. That includes more severe and more frequent droughts, and that includes also more excessive rainfall, more excessive hydrological events. VO: Assessing the impacts of extreme weather and individual losses all over El Salvador would incur an enormous operational cost. For these regions, that’s where satellites like TRMM and GPM can make a huge difference. Llabres: When TRMM came to life a little more than two decades ago, it was a high quality product that we were now able to use to determine what happened in each part of the country. The market of insurance can reach people that it didn’t reach before, that it was too costly to reach before that. Now we have more than twenty years of satellite data from quality sources, such as NASA, including TRMM and GPM, and now we can actually price an insurance component, an insurance product, based on experience that we have collected through these decades, and that we will continue to collect and improve in the coming years.