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Study: Filipinos among most at risk of losing homes to disasters

Displaced residents of Marawi city rest in an evacuation center in Balo-i township, Lanao del Norte province on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. AP/Bullit Marquez, file

MANILA, Philippines — A United Nations-back study has found that about 720,000 Filipinos risk losing their homes to disasters.

The study conducted by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre of the Norwegian Refugee and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction showed that disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and tropical cyclones, displace about 14 million people worldwide include 720,000 in the Philippines.

"A unique modeling exercise based on the latest data covering 204 countries and territories calculates that sudden onset disasters such as floods and cyclones, are likely to displace on average 13.9 million people each year, excluding those involved in pre-emptive evacuations," UNISDR said in a press statement.

Of the 204 countries and territories covered by the study, Philippines emerged as the fifth country with most people at risk of displacement by disasters.

The study showed that eight of the ten countries that have a high risk of future displacement and loss of housing are in South and Southeast Asia.

“This is an important baseline against which we can measure progress in reducing disaster risk. The findings underline the challenge we have, to reduce the numbers of people affected by disasters,” said UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Robert Glasser said.

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“Apart from death or severe injury in a disaster event, there is no more crushing blow than the loss of the family home which is often a place of work in many of the countries worst affected,” he added.

India ranked first with 2.3 million people at risk of displacement while the United States placed tenth with 230,000 people at risk.

Below is the complete list of countries with the most at risk of homelessness because of disasters:

  • India – 2.3 million

  • China –1.3 million

  • Bangladesh – 1.2 million

  • Vietnam – 1 million

  • Philippines – 720,000

  • Myanmar – 570,000

  • Pakistan – 460,000

  • Indonesia – 380,000

  • Russia – 250,000

  • United States – 230,000.

According to refugee and disaster risk reduction experts, numbers of internally displaced people, refugees and migrants have reached record highs. They cited conflict and disasters as contributors to the figures.

The experts forecast homelessness in the disaster-prone countries to rise if the disaster management is not addressed well.

The study was released last Friday for International Day for Disaster Reduction. They used probabilistic risk models for disasters to calculate the estimates of future economic losses from a range of natural hazards.

They did not include slow onset disasters attributed to drought and sea-level rise.

Last year, Philippines was the second country with the worst displacement with 5.9 million people forced to flee their homes, according to Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

RELATED: Philippines 2nd country with worst displacement in 2016 — report

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