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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Philippines is third country most frequently hit by disasters in 2010

The Philippines ranked third in the list of countries most frequently hit by natural disasters in 2010, the Citizens' Disaster Response Center reported.


Carlos Padolina, CDRC's Deputy Executive Director, cited the records of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) which showed that the Philippines was hit 14 times by natural disasters last year, competing closely with India and China.


However, this number was down by as much as 46% compared to the 2009 data -- from 26 (year

2009) to 14 (year 2010). The Philippines used to top the list in 2009.


CRED also ranked the Philippines 5th in the top ten list of countries most affected by natural disasters in 2010 with 3.9 million people affected. The People’s Republic of China topped the list with 145 million people affected. In 2009, the Philippines placed 2nd on that list, with 13.6 million people affected.


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).


However, Padolina said, if human-induced disasters like armed conflict were included, the total number of disaster occurrence in 2010 will reach 202, a slight increase from the previous year's 191. CDRC maintains its own disasters database, monitoring both natural and human-induced disasters.


Padolina added that these natural and human-induced disasters combined killed 239 people, and affected more than 1.29 million families or 6.75 million people, and caused over Php 25 billion in economic damages.


But Padolina admitted that human impact was indeed lower last year even if natural and human-induced disasters were combined, with only 6.75 million persons affected compared to the 13.6 million in 2009. This is a 50% decrease from the 2009 figures.


Padolina said that this can be attributed primarily to the fact that the country did not experience disasters as destructive as TS Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng of 2009.


Padolina said that despite the obvious decrease in disaster figures last year, the challenge to slide down from the top ten list of countries most affected by natural disasters still remains.


“We shouldn't be content with just a slight decrease in the number of affected population. We should in fact strive to be taken off the list completely,” Padolina stressed. "And we can do this by being prepared."


CDRC is a non-government organization that pioneered and continues to promote community-based disaster management in the Philippines. It operates nationwide through a network of regional centers and people’s organizations.


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