Welcome to SEARCA Knowledge Center on Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management in Southeast Asia (KC3)

The Philippines is 9th riskiest country

Published on 7 February 2020 Philippines

From being second in 2014 and third from 2015 until 2018, the Philippines improved its ranking and now ranks as the ninth riskiest country worldwide as a consequence of extreme weather events, according to the latest World Risk Index.

The country’s index is at 20.69 — an improvement from 28.25 (second) in 2014, 27.98 (third) in 2015, 26.70 (third) in 2016, 27.69 (third) in 2017 and 25.14 (third) in 2018.

The World Risk Index, embodied in the World Risk Report 2019 Edition, have identified three island states having the highest disaster risk worldwide: Vanuatu (56.71), Antigua and Barbuda (30.80), and Tonga (29.39). Completing the top 10 are Solomon Islands (fourth, 29.36), Guyana (fifth, 22.87), Papua New Guinea (sixth, 22.18), Brunei Darussalam (seventh, 21.68), Guatemala (eighth, 20.69) and Bangladesh (10th, 18.78). A total of 180 countries were assessed.

“More than ever before, the public became aware, that the effects of climate change and the resulting weather extremes affect the lives of people worldwide and will change them in the long term,” said Wolf-Christian Ramm, chairman of Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft. “It is important for all of us to support those who are already suffering from the effects of climate change and the creeping loss of their livelihoods and to take effective precautions.” In a snapshot, the key results indicated:

– Island states are above average among countries with a high or very high disaster risk across all continents — often due to their high or very high exposure to extreme natural events

– As in previous years, the disaster risk hotspot regions in 2019 are located in Oceania, Southeast Asia, Central America, and West and Central Africa

– Among continents, Africa has the highest societal vulnerability, followed by Asia and America.

– Europe is the continent with the lowest disaster risk worldwide.

– The country with the lowest disaster risk worldwide is Qatar

“The latest World Risk Index provides an analysis of disaster risks worldwide and indicates which countries are in the greatest need to strengthen measures for coping with and adapting to extreme natural events,” said Professor Pierre Thielbörger, executive director of Institute for Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at Ruhr University Bochum, who provided the scientific management and calculation of the index.

The risk assessment is based on the general notion that the intensity of the extreme weather event is not the only factor of relevance to the disaster risk, but that the society’s level of development is equally important. If it is less developed, a society will be more vulnerable to natural events than if it is better prepared in regard to susceptibility, coping capacities, and adaptive capacities.

The World Risk Index does not only measure each country’s exposure or risk of being struck by natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, drought and rising sea levels. It also examines the man-made factors in these calamities, through three components: coping, or the country’s level of preparedness and ability to respond effectively to disasters; adaptation, which is the nation’s ability to adjust and form “long-term strategies” for climate change; and susceptibility, which measures the citizens’ socio-economic conditions. These three components are added to measure a nation’s vulnerability.

The Philippines may have improved its ranking, however, it will still be not exempted from the onslaught of extreme weather events.

Extracting the data from the index, the Philippines, in terms of exposure — a particular object of protection, e.g. a population or an area, is exposed to effects of one or more natural hazards — to earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts or sea-level rise, ranks eighth, considered very high, with a score of 41.93. Top 10 includes Vanuatu, Antigua and Barbuda, Tonga, Brunei Darussalam, Solomon Islands, Guyana, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Fiji.

The Philippines, in terms of vulnerability — composed of susceptibility, lack of coping capacity, and lack of adaptive capacity — ranks high with a score of 49.34 but on the low side of the range of 47.92 to 61.79 and outside the top ten. Vulnerability also includes the ability of people or systems to cope with and adapt to negative impacts of natural hazards (Birkmann et al, 2011). Topping the list includes the Central African Republic, Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Niger, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Madagascar.

In susceptibility — understood as the likelihood of generally suffering damage in the event of an extreme natural event — the Philippines ranks high with a score of 28.86 but on the low side of the range of 28.44 to 45.05, and outside the top 10. The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Chad, Uganda, Niger, Zambia, and Guinea-Bissau top the list.

The lack of various abilities of societies to minimize the negative impacts of natural hazards and climate change by means of direct actions and available resources indicates the lack of coping capacities. The Philippines, in terms of lack of coping capacities, ranks high with a score of 80.98, but on the low side of the range of 78.53 to 84.65. Included in the top 10 are Chad, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.

Adaptation, in contrast with coping, includes measures and strategies that deal with the negative impacts of natural hazards and climate change in the future. In lack of adaptive capacities, the Philippines ranks medium with a score of 38.17 but on the high side of the range 32.27 to 38.94, and definitely outside the top 10. Top 10 includes Chad, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, and Haiti.

The World Risk Report 2019, the ninth edition since 2011, is published annually by Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft. Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft is composed of the aid organizations Brot für die Welt, Christoffel-Blindenmission, DAHW, Kindernothilfe, medico international, Misereor, Plan International, terre des hommes, Welthungerhilfe and the associated members, German Doctors and Oxfam.

The full report can be downloaded at https://weltrisikobericht.de/english-2/.

Source: Manila Times 11 January 2020