The society involved in the following study seems typical of areas severely constrained by unfavourable natural resources and serious environmental hazards, (hurricanes, floods, droughts, irregular onset of the rainy season etc.). Yet an analysis of the overall extent of resource development in relation to natural hazards suggests that human activity, notably the history of the colony and biased attitudes of the national government, are also to blame for the form and degree of risk. Hazards can be viewed as a function of both natural events and ‘human-use systems’ such that variations in either, have a potential impact on damages (Burton et al. 1978, p. 41). It is necessary to begin, therefore, with some cautions about the studies that have been applied to the Tropics generally and Central America in particular.