The Philippines are highly prone to disasters triggered by natural disasters, with some estimations placing 60% of its land area and 74% of its population as exposed to numerous hazards, including floods, cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides. Since 1990, the country has faced 565 such disasters, killing 70,000 and costing $23 billion in damages. With the exception of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the multiple natural hazards facing the Philippines are projected to intensify under climate change. The country is particularly prone to cyclones due to its location in the Northwestern Pacific Basin, the most active tropical cyclone basin in the world, with the country experiencing an average of 20 cyclones per year within its area of responsibility, with approximately 8 making landfall. The strongest recorded typhoon happened in recent years, Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 killing 6,000 people, devastating nine regions and resulting in 1.1 million homes damaged and agricultural and infrastructure damages of $802 million. While not directly climate-related, the Philippines are also located in an area of considerable tectonic activity, possessing 22 active volcanoes. An example of the threat from volcano activity is witnessed in the eruption of Mount Mayon in early 2018, which resulted in the evacuation of up to 90,000 people
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- The Philippines regularly experiences high maximum temperatures, with an average monthly maximum of around 30⁰C and an average May maximum of 32⁰C. The current median probability of a heat wave (defined as a period of 3 or more days where the daily temperature is above the long-term 95th percentile of daily mean temperature) is around 2%.
- As of 2010, assuming protection for up to a 1-in-25 year event, the population annually affected by flooding in the Philippines is estimated at 176,000 and the expected annual damages at $625 million.
- The Philippines is highly exposed to flooding, the consequence of severe cyclones and heavy rainfall. The risks from flooding are exacerbated by land-use change such as urbanization and logging.
- The Philippines is one of the most cyclone-prone countries in the world, lying on what is often described as the ‘typhoon belt’. Approximately 19-20 cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility annually, with 7-9 reaching landfall.
- Under all emissions pathways projections, the probability of experiencing a heat wave increases dramatically by 2080-2099, up to 52% under the RCP6.0 pathway and 76% under the RCP8.5 pathway. Mindanao, a group of islands in the south, are most at risk from heat waves, with some projections indicating the islands could face year-long heatwaves by 2050.
- Climate change is expected to increase the population annually affected by flooding in the Philippines by 61,000 people and the damages by $451 million under the RCP8.5 emissions pathway (AQUEDUCT Scenario B).
- In general, drought experienced in the Philippines coincides with extreme El Niño events. However, this is not always the case, as in 2007 where drought conditions were observed despite occurring during a La Niña period (often associated with excessive rains).
- The number of typhoons making landfall around the Leyte Island region of the country has steadily increased over the last 70 years. Typhoons appear to have greater intensity: Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 was recorded as one of the fastest on record, with a propagation speed nearly twice that of an average cyclone.
- Heavy rainfall associated with typhoons and other weather systems may increase in both, intensity and frequency under a changing climate. This could exacerbate flooding in existing flood-prone areas and increase landslide and mudslide risk, as well as introduce flood risk to new areas.
- The Second National Communication to UNFCC describes how although the unusual amount of rainfall may have been due to climate change, it was the wastes clogging the sewers and waterways that trapped the water, which resulted in floods that caused immense damage and loss of lives.
- In the Philippines, strong droughts are generally associated with El Niño. Climate change projections suggest that an intensification of the El Niño Southern Oscillation may occur, which has profound implications for agricultural production and thus food security and pricing. The country is already witnessing longer drought episodes, with attendant crop damage and often sharp declines in gross domestic product.