PH is 3rd most disaster-prone country

Posted on October 16, 2012

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MANILA—The Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world mainly due to high exposure to natural calamities, a new international report showed.

The World Disaster Report 2012, released in Brussels on Oct. 11, also said the Philippines could spare up to 20 million of its people- roughly a fifth of the total population- from natural disasters through improving the protection of coral reefs, a primary line of defense against coastal hazards, particularly tsunamis.

Tropical and coastal nations led the list of countries at high risk for disasters, with Pacific countries Tonga and Vanuatu rated first and second respectively.

Of the top three at risk, however, the Philippines had the best rating on adaptation measures, with scores similar to that of Malaysia and Thailand, countries farther down the overall risk rankings at 91st and 92nd place, respectively.

The Mediterranean archipelago of Malta and Middle Eastern country Qatar, meanwhile, are the two lowest-risk countries, according to the report.

“The top fifteen most at-risk nations are all tropical and coastal where coastal habitats like reefs and mangroves are incredibly important for people’s lives and livelihoods. Reefs, for example, can reduce wave energy approaching coasts by more than 85 percent,” The Conservancy said in a statement posted on its website.

“What is conspicuous is that among the 15 countries with the highest risk worldwide happen to be island states—including Vanuatu, Tonga and the Philippines at positions one to three. Owing to their proximity to the sea, island states are particularly exposed to the natural hazards of cyclones, flooding and sea level rise,” read the report.

African and Latin American countries also made up much of the top half of the list while Middle Eastern, European and North American countries were rated among the low-risk nations.

The report, a collaboration among the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), the German Alliance for Development Works (Alliance), and US-based environment group The Nature Conservancy, rated the disaster risk of some 173 countries around the world using “globally available data” on their individual exposure and susceptibility to disasters and coping and adaptive capacities in the event of natural calamities.Inquirer

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