Philippine cities most exposed to disasters, study says




Philippine cities are most at risk from natural disasters pointing out with eight out of 10 world cities most vulnerable to the devastating impacts of typhoons, earthquake, floods and other natural hazards, according to the latest risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft.


The report published on Wednesday analyzed the threats posed to more than 1,300 cities. But the study shows that out of 100 cities alone with greatest exposure to natural disasters, 21 are located in the Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan and eight in Bangladesh.


“Natural hazard risk is compounded in the Philippines by poor institutional and societal capacity to manage, respond and recover from natural hazard events. The Philippines is also considered high risk in part due to entrenched corruption and high level of poverty,” the report stated.


Analyzing the 5th annual Natural Hazards Risk Atlas of the Maplecroft, it stated that the Philippines’ extreme exposure to a myriad of natural hazards is reflected by the inclusion of 8 of the country’s cities among the ten most at risk globally, including Tuguegarao (2nd), Lucena (3rd), Manila (4th), San Fernando (5th) and Cabantuan (6th). Port Vila, Vanuatu (1st) and Taipei City, Taiwan (8th) are the only cities not located in the Philippines to feature in the top 10.


Last week, French President Francois Hollande visited the typhoon-devastated town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar with some of his cabinet members, French businessmen, climate experts, French celebrities and some key United Nations officials. They have witnessed themselves the catastrophic effect of climate change in the Philippines coupled with exposure to natural disasters and poverty.

” I need not underscore all the disastrous effects of climate change as we know this is already happening. We need to pull all our efforts that can allow us to change our world because it is our goal to preserve it,” Hollande said during his visit in the country.


Early this year, the Philippines also ranked first in the Global Climate Risk Index 2015 report by Germanwatch, followed by two emerging developing nations in Asia countries, Cambodia and India, which rank second and third, respectively.


In November 2013, the archipelago was hit by typhoon Haiyan, dubbed as the strongest typhoon to ever make a landfall. The typhoon killed over 7,000 (as of the tally by the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) and displaced over 1 million households. In recent years, the Philippines was also hit by typhoon Ketsana that submerged over half of Metro Manila, where 12 million Filipinos live, and Luzon in building-high floods.

However, efforts on ground to ramp up disaster preparedness among key cities in the Philippines are ongoing as shown by a series of study conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation on how 16 key cities in the country can cope with the impacts of climate change and disasters.


Results of WWF’s Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Impacts four-year, 16-city study was presented and given for free to local government units in identified cities based on hazards exposure and impact on Philippine business and development.


On a national scale, members of the NDRRMC through the initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and Department of the Interior and Local Government, launched the Science for Safer Communities campaign in 2014. The campaign highlights the importance of preparing communities, especially first responders to understand early warnings to create responsive plans that are based on sound science and scenarios that takes into account the history of exposure and vulnerability in an area.

Anna Valmero
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Anna Valmero

Social Media and Citizen Journalism at Philippine EnviroNews
Anna Valmero
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