MANILA -- The Philippines remains highly vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly typhoons that trigger flash floods and landslides, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), a Philippine-based non-governmental organization, reported.
CDRC said last year the Philippines topped the list of countries with the highest mortality rate due to natural disasters.
Moreover, it added, the number of disasters recorded in 2012 was higher than that recorded in 2011, which caused widespread and disastrous floods.
CDRC cited records of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) that showed 2,360 people in the Philippines were killed due to natural disasters in 2012. China recorded the next-biggest number of casualties in the same year with 771.
CDRC is a partner of CRED, a World Health Organization collaborating center based in Brussels, Belgium, which maintains the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT: The International Disaster Database).
It also reported that in terms of the number of people affected by natural disasters, the Philippines came in second to China. There were 43 million people affected in China and 12 million in the Philippines.
Carlos Padolina, deputy executive director of CDRC, said the Philippines’s ranking was mainly due to damage from killer Typhoon Pablo (international code name Bopha) in 2012. The typhoon killed over 1,000 people in Mindanao in southern Philippines.
Citing CDRC’s own data, Padolina revealed that a total of 471 natural and human-induced disasters occurred in the Philippines in 2012. Compared to the 2011 data, 2012 posted a 9-percent increase in the number of disastrous events recorded by CDRC.
CDRC monitors both natural and human-induced disasters that occur in the Philippines.
“The majority of these disasters were caused by floods, with 143 incidents and 7.8 million people affected. The high number of flooding incidents can be attributed to the southwest monsoon, which inundated much of Luzon in August of 2012,” Padolina said. “However, the major cause of mortality rate last year was [a] tropical cyclone,” he added.
Padolina noted an increasing trend in the number of affected people in the last five years. He said the strong typhoons that the Philippines experienced in recent years have contributed a lot to this trend.