Philippines 2nd country with worst displacement in 2016 — report

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Philippines 2nd country with worst displacement in 2016 � report

Residents clean the road a day after Typhoon Nock-Ten (local name Nina) hit Mabini township, Batangas province, Philippines on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. The powerful typhoon slammed into the eastern Philippines on Christmas Day, spoiling the biggest holiday in Asia's largest Catholic nation but weakened slightly on Monday as it roared toward a congested region near the country's capital, officials said. They said that Typhoon Nock-Ten had cut power to five provinces as well as displacing thousands of villagers and travelers in Asia's Catholic bastion. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — Next to China, the Philippines is the second country with the worst displacement with 5.9 million people forced to flee their homes, according to a report.

Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reported that more than 31 million people in the world were displaced in their own countries last year.

Over 75 percent of internal displacement were due to natural disasters and weather-related events while the rest is from violence and conflicts.

In the Philippines, the very high levels of displacements were attributed to the two largest typhoons that struck the country last year—Typhoon Nina (international name Nock-Ten) which made landfall on December and Typhoon Lawin (international name Haima) in October.

The center, which is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council, noted that the data is far from comprehensive but most people appear to have been able to return home relatively quickly.

"That said, based on the number of people still sheltering in evacuation centres, around 31,000 were still displaced a month after Haima struck, and around 400 a month after Nock-Ten," the report read.

Typhoon Nina, a category four storm, triggered the mass evacuation of as many as 2.6 million, the largest disaster displacement event in the country last year.

Government data six days after the incident recorded just 230,000 displaced people staying either in or outside evacuation centers. By the end of January 2017, the number has dropped to 368.

"Given, however, that Nock-Ten (Nina) is estimated to have damaged or destroyed at least 70,000 homes, it is unclear how many people may still be displaced and staying temporarily elsewhere while recovery and reconstruction efforts continue," the report read.

The case of the Philippines, among others, highlights displacement patterns and impacts following disasters, the center said.

China has the highest number of displaced people with 7.4 million, India 2.4 million, Indonesia with 1.2 million and the United States with 1.1 million.

More than 31 million people were displaced in their own countries last year — over 75 percent as a result of natural disasters and weather-related events, and the rest from violence and conflicts with Congo and Syria topping the list. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

READ: Report: Over 31 million people internally displaced in 2016

The report noted the top three countries with the highest numbers of displacements—China, the Philippines and India— were large and populous.

"When considered relative to the population size, however, the exposure and vulnerability of small, low-lying coastal and island countries to tropical storms and flooding becomes clear," the center said.

East Asia and the Pacific accounted for more than two-thirds of all new displacement associated with disasters in 2016 with 16.4 million.

The IMDC added that climate change is affecting the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, noting the strong correlation between displacement and populations' exposure to natural hazards.

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