Climate and Environment

Philippines tops global disaster risk index

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Philippines tops global disaster risk index
People clean their flooded homes in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Noru in San Mateo, Rizal province on September 26, 2022.
AFP/Jam Sta Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines ranked first on the list of global disaster risk hotspots based on the latest World Risk Index report, which measures a country’s exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards.

The study, prepared by Germany-based Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft and the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) at Ruhr University Bochum, showed that the Philippines logged an index score of 46.82. 

The Philippines was also one of the countries identified vulnerable to disasters caused by extreme natural events, which include earthquakes, storms or flooding.

India trailed in second with an index score of 42.31, Indonesia came third with 41.46 and Colombia ranked fourth at 38.37. Mexico, Myanmar, Mozambique, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan also formed part of the world’s top 10 countries with the highest disaster risk scores. 

“Risk hotspots” were said to be located in the Americas and in Asia. 

The study assessed how 193 countries are more prone to disasters using an updated index, which now uses 100 indicators versus the previous 27. 

“In particular, the inclusion of indicators on how populations have been affected by disasters and conflicts in the past five years, as well as on refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers in the new index — also against the backdrop of the major global migration movements — results in a significantly more accurate representation of the realities of life in many countries," IFHV Research Associate Daniel Weller said. 

Emerging technologies

This year’s report also focused on how digitalization and emerging technologies can help countries prepare for natural events and create responsive systems to aid affected communities. 

It recommended that data from digital systems must be kept safe and discouraged organizations from making a business out of digital techniques, among other suggestions moving forward. 

READ: PAGASA modernization brings hope for better weather forecasting

In 2021, the Philippines ranked eighth on the risk index with a score of 21.39 and placed ninth among countries with the highest exposure to disaster.

The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 typhoons each year and is geographically located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. 

Earlier this year, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Abra in August, affecting over half a million individuals or155,911 families. The strong quake also left 11 dead and 609 injured. It damaged an estimated P74.896 million worth of agricultural products and over P9.732 million in livestock, poultry, and fisheries. 

Most recently, Super Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru) left 12 dead, including five rescuers, 67 injured, and five remain missing after moving across Luzon last week, affecting 1.07 million people.

READ: Philippines, world leaders urged to ramp up climate action after 'Karding' onslaught

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has already called for a review of the government’s disaster response procedures to streamline multiple agency response systems.



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