MANILA, Philippines – The economic costs of over 400 natural and man-made disasters in 2011 reached over P26 billion, a report of the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center showed.
This cost is equivalent to almost 3% of the total tax collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and almost 1.5% of the overall budget of the national government.
The Philippines is the most disaster-hit country in 2011, the CDRC said in its Philippine Disaster Report. It cited that the number of disasters increased by 50% in 2011, impacting the economy in general.
CDRC Deputy Executive Director Carlos Padolina said the records of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) showed that of the 302 natural disasters that happened worldwide, 33 occurred in the Philippines.
“These natural and human-induced disasters combined affected more than 3 million families or 15.3 million people, and caused over P26 billion in economic damages. This is a major leap from last year’s only 6.75 million people affected,” Padolina said in a statement.
If human-induced disasters like armed conflict and fire were included, the total number of disaster occurrence in 2011 will reach 431, almost double the 2010 figure of 202 disasters.
The CDRC noted that 2011 was the first time in 6 years that disaster frequency has shown a sharp increase. Since 2005, disaster frequency in the Philippines has been on a downward trend.
Noteworthy was that the 15.3 million people affected by disasters in 2011 surpassed the record-high 14.5 million in 2006 and the 13.6 million in 2009, due to Tropical Storm Sendong (international codename: Washi).
CDRC said that tropical cyclones contribute to the spikes in the number of affected people like in 2006 for Typhoon Reming (Durian) and in 2009 for Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana).
In terms of casualties, the Philippines placed second to Japan with 1,924 people killed. This was due to Sendong, which hit the country in December and claimed more than 1,400 lives.
“When it comes to combined data on natural and human-induced disasters, the 2011 figures far exceeded the 2010 human impact data. Even if compared to the 2009 figures, which included tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng, the number of affected population in 2011 is still much higher at 15.3 million,” the report stated.
While tropical cyclones did not make it to the top 5 most frequent natural disasters, it affected the most number of people, the report stressed.
Below are the top disasters that affected the most number of people:
1. Tropical cyclones – affected at least 10.3 million in 2011, with Tropical Storm Sendong and Typhoon Pedring as the two most destructive in 2011.
2. Flood – 4.6 million
3. Volcanic eruption
4. Armed conflict
Natural disasters affected 10.5 million people, or 69% of the total number of people affected by disasters.
On the other hand, disasters caused by both humans and natural hazards affected 4.6 million people or 30% of the disaster-affected population. These disasters include fishkill, flood, landslide and red tide.
Human-induced disasters, namely, armed conflict, fire, and development aggression, affected 121,970 people or only 1% of the total disaster-affected population in 2010.
“In terms of frequency, however, 44% were caused by a combination of human-induced and natural hazards. This was fueled by the high number of flood incidents. Natural disasters account for only 29% of disaster incidents, but it affected the most number of people. Human-induced disasters on the other hand account for 27% of the total disaster events,” the report stated.
The disasters with the most number of casualties were:
1. Tropical cyclones – killed 1,557 people in 2011 and more than 1,400 were due to Sendong
2. Epidemics – 60 deaths
3. Armed conflict – 58 deaths
4. Fire – 52 deaths
5. Landslides – 35 deaths
In the Philippines, Luzon had the most number of people affected by disasters with 9.4 million individuals or some 2 million families. Mindanao, which used to be the least affected by disasters, reported 5 million individuals or 868,720 families affected in 2011. – Rappler.com