MANILA, Philippines – Losses from Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) could reach as much as $15 billion (around P650 billion), making it one of the most expensive disasters in Philippine history, a Bloomberg report cited an analyst as saying.
That amounts to about 5% of the country’s gross domestic output (GDP), said the report, which quoted figures from Charles Watson, director of research and development at US disaster modeling firm Kinetic Analysis Corp.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, an economist, said the destruction Yolanda wrought will have “a major punch” on the 4th quarter GDP and the full impact may “lag into 2014,” according to an Inquirer report. Salceda said losses would reach about $14 billion, also quoting data from Kinetic Analysis.
Socioeconomic planning secretary and NEDA director-general Arsenio Balisacan has not replied to Rappler’s request for comment on the figures yet. Officials earlier said Yolanda wiped out entire towns in some of affected provinces, making it difficult for government to survey the extent of damage.
Yolanda, one of the most intense tropical cyclones recorded in the world and probably the strongest to ever hit land, struck the Philippines on Friday, November 8. The death toll could swell to over 10,000, officials said, as they scramble to bring relief to desperate typhoon survivors.
In the Bloomberg report, Watson said Yolanda’s impact is “catastrophic” and could be several times worse for the Philippines than superstorm Sandy was for the US.
Reconstruction not enough to offset?
In the meantime, the projected losses from Yolanda are more than 3 times the reconstruction costs of Pepeng and Ondoy, the Inquirer report quoting Salceda stated. It also “overlaps” with the reconstruction demand from Pablo, the Zamboanga siege and Bohol earthquake which Salceda said amounts to another P60 billion.
The Bloomberg report said the boost economies usually get from reconstruction after disasters may be “muted” in the Philippines this time because “there’s less insurance to spur activity.”
Bloomberg Industries analyst Jonathan Adams wrote in a report that only about $2 billion of the projected losses from Yolanda is insured.
The Philippine economy, one of the fastest-growing in the region, grew 7.6% in the first half of the year.
Before Yolanda struck, economic officials were confident economic growth could surpass the government’s full-year target of 6% to 7%. – Rappler.com