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REAP Country Case Studies: Philippines - 9 December 2021

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Context

The Philippines is one of the largest island groups in the world with 7,107 islands and islets (OCD-DND, 208). The country is exposed to multiple hazards - at least 60 per cent of the total land area is exposed to multiple hazards, and 74 per cent of the population is vulnerable to impacts (GFDRR, 2017; IFRC, 2020).
The country is situated on the typhoon belt of the western pacific and located within the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Ring of Fires. On average, about 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippines waters each year, with approximately eight or nine making landfall (ESCAP/WMO, 2009; Bankoff, 2003), causing the greatest damage.

Other hazards which are increasing in frequency include floods, landslides, tsunamis and wildfires, all of which are occurring in frequency. Of these, hydro-meteorological events accounted for over 80 percent of the natural disasters in the country during the last half-century (UNDRR, 2019). All the main hydrometeorological hazards in the country (typhoons, storm surges, drought, sea-level rise, and tsunamis) are directly influenced by climate change and are, therefore, expected to continue to exacerbate in terms of intensity, frequency, and unpredictability over the coming years (IFRC, 2020). According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the intensity of tropical cyclones entering the Philippines area of responsibility (PAR)1 had been increasing between 1951 and 2015. In recent years, the country has been struck by some of the strongest ever recorded in the world, such as Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Other slow-onset phenomena like the El Niño Southern Oscillation in 2015, which affected seven million individuals across 43 provinces and was the strongest since 1950, can disrupt the economy and livelihoods (IFRC, 2020).