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Natural disasters in the Philippines - statistics & facts

The Philippines sits within the Pacific Ring of Fire, where its horseshoe shape engulfs an area of 40 thousand kilometers, and its basin in the Pacific Ocean are prone to a lot of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Other than earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, flooding due to heavy rains brought by the southwest monsoon and low-pressure area affects the region, resulting to damages in many livelihoods. Of the value of damages caused by natural disasters or events in the Philippines, drought or El Nino had caused a damage of approximately 12.8 trillion Philippine pesos.

Government spending in the aftermath of natural disasters in the Philippines

The impacts of natural disasters are devastating in any economy. Multiple hazards brought by natural events affect public infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water and power utilities, hospitals and schools, government buildings, and agriculture. In the past year, aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, two major disasters occurred in the country: typhoon Ulysses and Taal volcano eruption, halted public life, business, and mobility which affected the Philippines’ economy.

In the Philippines, local government units are governmental bodies responsible for rehabilitating the society and rebuild infrastructures from the aftermath of natural disasters. In a recent finding, expenditures on disaster risk reduction in the Philippines for rehabilitation and recovery made up the highest government expenditure valued at approximately 16.2 billion Philippine pesos. By comparison, spending for disaster preparedness was below 700 million Philippines pesos.

Disaster preparedness of the Philippines’ government

The spending for reducing risk has been one factor helping the Philippines rebound from the aftermath of natural calamities. However, the Philippines' government must implement more stringent physical risk-reduction measures and adopt enhanced-engineering technologies to minimize the risk and losses. It is thus important to allocate a higher budget for disaster preparedness. With climate change posing more threat, more disasters are likely happening in the years to come. Given this scenario, assessing the government's efforts in addressing climate change in the Philippines has shown that although the government is aware of the threat, sufficient funds have not been allocated to address climate change, according to a recent survey.

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