Philippines ranks 4th in countries hardest hit by disasters

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines ranked fourth among countries hit by the most number of disasters in 2015, a report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said.

China is the most disaster-prone country with 26 disasters. Second is the United States with 22 followed by India with 19, the Philippines with 15 and Indonesia with 11.

The UNISDR report said that 2015, being the hottest year on record, confirmed that weather and climate-related disasters now dominate disaster trends linked to natural hazards.

UNISDR noted that after droughts, floods had the second greatest impact in 2015, with 152 floods affecting 27.5 million people and claiming 3,310 lives, compared with the 10-year average of 5,938 deaths and 85.1 million people affected.

Asia and the Pacific bore the brunt of 90 storms in the past year, including 48 attributed to rising sea levels and sea surface temperatures.

Globally, storms resulted in 996 deaths and affected 10.6 million people in 2015, compared with a 10-year average of 17,778 deaths and 34.9 million people affected.

The UNISDR also found that 98.6 million people were affected by disasters in 2015, and that climate, often aided by a strong El Niño phenomenon, was a factor in 92 percent of these events.

The disasters having the greatest impact were the 32 major droughts recorded throughout the year, which amounted to more than double the 10-year annual average and affected 50.5 million people.

“The main message from this trends analysis is that reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change is vital for countries seeking to reduce disaster risk now and in the future,” said UNISDR head Robert Glasser.

The Philippines and the UNISDR expressed their commitment to continue their engagement in keeping the momentum in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

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