Disaster Hotspot Case Study - The Philippines


Disaster Hotspot Case Study - The Philippines

The Philippines is a disaster hotspot ..

The Philippines is a group of islands in South-East Asia with a vulnerable population at risk from a variety of hazards.

1) Volcanoes

  • The Philippines is near to a destructive plate boundary, where the Philippine plate is being subducted beneath the Eurasian plate.
  • The islands were formed by a combination of folding at the boundary and volcanoes formed from magma that has risen to the surface from the mantle below
  • Mount Pinatubo is a volcano that erupted in 1991. Many people were evacuated, buildings collapsed, crops were destroyed and agricultural land was ruined by falling ash.

2) Earthquakes

  • The Philippine plate and the Eurasian plate can become locked together as one moves under the other. This causes pressure to build up. When the pressure is too much the plates jerk past each other, causing an earthquake
  • Earthquakes also occur at fault lines in the area, where the plate has cracked under pressure
  • Earthquakes occur daily, but most can't be felt (they're low on the Richter Scale)
  • An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 occurred on Luzon Island in 1990, killing over 1500 people

3) Landslides

  • The Philippines gets a lot of rain. If a lot of rain falls in a short space of time in areas with steep slopes, landslides can occur
  • Landslides can also be triggered by earthquakes
  • A landslide occurred on Leyte Island in 2006 after it had been raining heavily for 10 days. A whole village was buried (including a school), killing hundreds

4) Typhoons

  • The Philippines have around 10 typhoons every year
  • They develop in the Pacific Ocean and move westwards over the islands
  • Typhoon Xangsane swept across Manila and the surrounding densley populated area in the North in 2006. High winds and torrential rain destroyed homes and caused flooding, landslides and loss of power and water

5) Tsunamis

  • Earthquakes in any of the oceans surrounding the Philippines could cause a tsunami
  • In 1976 an earthquake of magnitude 7.9 caused a tsunami that hit the coastline around the Moro Gulf on the southern island of Mindanao. Thousands were killed and several cities were devastated

6) Drought

  • Some parts of the Philippines have a distinct wet and dry season, e.g. Manila (and the surrounding densely populated area) is dry between November and April, and wet between May and October
  • Drought can occur when the wet season hasn't brought enough rain to last the dry season, or the dry season is particularly harsh
  • There was a drought on Luzon island in 2005. The reduction in rainfall decreased water flows in rivers which affected power production from hydroelectric power plants. This affected the power supply to the entire region. Without power for an extended period, economic and social activity were severely reduced

7) Flooding

  • During the wet season, floods can be caused by typhoons or heavy rain
  • Flooding affects many areas, even some that are also affected by drought
  • Major floods occurred in the lowland areas around Manila in the 1970s and in recent years. Crops were devastated in this major rice growing region

The Population of the Philippines is vulnerable ..

The Philippines isn't a really poor country (some bits of it are very wealthy), but much of its population remains vulnerable to the effects of a hazard, or has a low capacity to cope

1) When a hazard strikes a densely populated area, there's a greater risk it will become a disaster, e.g. The island of Luzon and the area around Manila are more at risk because they have a high population density

2) Population pressures have led to deforestation of upland areas for agriculture. This increases the risk of landslides in populated areas

3) The Philippines has a fast growing economy, but there are still many people below the poverty line who will be most severely affected by a disaster

4) Some fast growing settlements have been build near to hazardous areas, e.g. Angeles was built near to Mount Pinatubo. It wasn't thought of as a threat because it hadn't erupted since 1380

5) Many people live in unstable locations, e.g. The Aeta tribe were living on the slopes of Mount Pinatubo when it erupted in 1991

I hope this case study has helped you. It is a compulsory case study for Edexcel AS Geography Unit 1 - Global Challenges. I have also got the other compulsory case study - The Philippines, on a PDF. Just click on my name and view my resources and it will be there. Good luck with your revision :)




Thank you :) I hope you made it on your geo exams. I'm sure you did.






This was very useful, thank you very much!



this was reall good! It has all the information I needed!






This is copied word for word from the Edexel CGP booklet this is plagiarism. No help at all as I have the CGP book. Write your own notes!






needs disaster management