The Philippines case study

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Unit 1 World at Risk: Natural Hazard

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands and islets located in the southeast coast of Asia. It has a total land area of 300,000 square kilometres bounded by the Philippine Sea to the east, Celebes Sea to the south, and South China Sea to the north and the west. The Philippines' exposure to disasters is to a significant extent due to the country's geographical and physical characteristics (CDRC, 1992). It is the world’s largest archipelago composed of more than 7,100 islands. It lies along the Western Pacific Basin, the world’s busiest typhoon belt, with the average of 20 typhoons hitting the country each year. Coastal and extended swamp areas are prone to floods and storm surges during typhoons. The country is further part of the Circum-Pacific seismic belt and lies in between two major tectonic plates, whose movements create mountain ranges, islands, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. There are 220 volcanoes in the country, out of which 21 are active. El Niño occurrences induce drought in many parts of the Philippines, regularly posing a serious problem in agricultural production and potable water supply.

Its wealth in GDP is $224.75 Billion US dollars at current prices - 2011
Its population is 94,852,030 - 2011
The area is a hazard hotspot area. The natural hazards that have occurred in this area and the date of occurrences are...
1645 Luzon earthquake, 1880 Luzon earthquakes, 1994 Mindoro earthquake, 2010 Mindanao earthquakes, 2012 Visayas earthquake, 1968 Casiguran earthquake
2006 Southern Leyte mudslide
Typhoon Angela (1995), Typhoon Bess (1974), Typhoon Dot (1985) Typhoon Irma (1981),  Typhoon Joan (1970),  Typhoon Kate (1970), Typhoon Kent (1995), Typhoon Mike, Typhoon Nari (2001), Typhoon Ora (1972), Typhoon Pamela (1982) Typhoon Peggy (1986),  Tropical Storm Vongfong (2002), Typhoon Wayne (1986), Typhoon Yunya (1991)
VOLCANOS: Mount Pinatubo 1991

Economic factors of vulnerability:
Economically, The Philippians are vulnerable to natural hazards because they do not have a vast amount of money. This means that when hazards do strike they are usually disasters because of the poor living standards and the adverse living.  Poverty is mainly due to the unequal distribution of wealth and resources: the richest of the 20% of the population cornered 51.8% of the country's income, while the poorest 30% make do with only 9.3%. So the majority of Filipinos have incomes that cannot provide for the most basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. When hazards strike, poor people suffer more than the rich, because they lack the means to protect themselves and recover easily. Instead, they become more indebted or are forced to sell their limited properties, further undermining their basic means for survival. The rich can afford two- to three-storey houses to have protection against floods or can easily transfer residence to a safer location.

Technological factors of vulnerability:
Because of the lack of money, the technology in the Philippines is not very advanced. This


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