The Philippines topped the list of countries most frequently hit by natural disasters in 2009, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) said.
Lourdes Louella Escandor, CDRC’s Executive Director, cited the records of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) which showed that the Philippines was hit 26 times by natural disasters last year.
CDRC is a partner of CRED, a World Health Organization collaborating center based in Brussels, Belgium, which maintains the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT: The International Disaster Database).
CDRC, which also maintains its own disaster database, revealed that if human-induced disasters like armed conflict were included, the total number of disaster occurrence in 2009 will reach 191.
CRED also ranked the Philippines 2nd in the top ten list of countries most affected by natural disasters in 2009 with 13.6 million people affected. The People’s Republic of China topped the list with 68.7 million people affected.
Escandor said the Philippines’ ranking came not as a surprise since last year saw two of the worst disasters in the country’s history: Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
“The challenge now is how we can slide down from the top ten list of countries most affected by natural disasters,” Escandor said. “We may not be able to control how many disasters will hit the Philippines, but we can very well minimize its effect.”
Escandor stressed the importance of disaster preparedness and the cooperation of the whole community in reducing the impact of disasters.
CDRC is a non-government organization that pioneered and continues to promote community-based disaster management in the Philippines. It operates nationwide through a network of regional centers and people’s organizations.
Download in PDF: 2009 Philippine Disaster Report