Natural Hazard Risk
The Philippines is at high risk from cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires. Since 1990, the Philippines has been affected by 565 natural disaster events that have claimed the lives of nearly 70,000 Filipinos and caused an estimated $23 billion in damages. At least 60 percent of the country’s total land area is exposed to multiple hazards, and 74 percent of the population is vulnerable to their impact.
An average of 20 typhoons make landfall in the Philippines every year, and typhoons making landfall over the last decade have become stronger and more devastating. In 2013, Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest storm ever recorded at landfall, caused over 6,000 reported fatalities and damaged 1.1 million homes in nine regions. The country is also frequently affected by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Philippines has about 22 active volcanoes. In January 2018, Mount Mayon erupted, causing more than 56,000 people to evacuate the surrounding areas and damaging agriculture.
Climate change is exacerbating the impact of weather-related events in the Philippines. The country is witnessing longer episodes of drought and El Niño, which disrupts the volume of agricultural production and hurts GDP. Unregulated urban expansion has also aggravated flooding risk and is expected to continue in the future.
The Philippines has made strides in disaster and climate resilience over the past decade. Established in 2009, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is a working group of government, non-government, civil society, and private sector organizations. The Council is responsible for ensuring the protection and welfare of the people during disasters. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 was a landmark legislation that shifted the Government of the Philippines’ focus from emergency relief to disaster risk reduction and prevention. The Philippine government formulated a national disaster risk management (DRM) plan to implement the requirements set out by this legislation.
To further advance the DRM agenda, national priorities include:
- Supporting risk reduction investments;
- Strengthening institutional capacity for DRM;
- Mainstreaming DRM into development planning; and,
- Better managing fiscal exposure to natural hazard impacts.
GFDRR has supported the Philippines since 2008 in enabling risk reduction activities, strengthening the country’s financial resilience, and improving post-disaster recovery. In the aftermath of 2009’s Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng, the Government of the Philippines conducted a post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA), with support from GFDRR, the World Bank, and other partners. This assessment resulted in a series of recommendations to strengthen the country’s disaster resilience.
Based on the PDNA recommendations, GFDRR provided the Philippines with technical support to implement an innovative DRM reform agenda, including a disaster risk financing strategy. The strategy included the use of a DRM Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophic Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) that provides the government with up to $500 million in rapid liquidity in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The Cat-DDO was disbursed in December 2011 after Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi), and the World Bank approved a second $500 million Cat-DDO for the Philippines in December 2015. At the municipal level, the 2009 PDNA recommendations leveraged GFDRR technical expertise to develop a flood management master plan for Manila and surrounding areas to build resilience to future flood events.
Immediately after Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, GFDRR and the World Bank provided advisory services on principles and policies for reconstruction. In addition, the National Economic and Development Authority received support to develop the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda plan, which was created in an unprecedented five weeks after the typhoon made landfall.
Since 2014, GFDRR has provided technical support for revising the National Building Code of the Philippines (NBCP) by supporting the Department of Public Works and Highways to integrate and mainstream disaster risk reduction measures. GFDRR’s activities have enabled the department to review basic provisions of the NBCP, develop revisions aiming to fundamentally improve the national building regulations, and reduce the impacts of disasters and climate change on the built environment. This was a key result indicator of the Second DRM Development Policy Loan with a CAT-DDO, financed by the World Bank.
Currently, GFDRR is helping the Philippines increase the capacity of selected local governments to manage climate risks faced by local transport infrastructure and pilot an institutionalized coordination process. Grant-funded activities include high resolution risk mapping based on existing hazard information, prioritizing investments for roads improvement and flood management, and reevaluating asset management frameworks for local roads considering future climate and natural hazard risks.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Philippines in the following areas:
- Developing a flood management master plan for Manila;
- Supporting increased risk reduction investments at the local government level;
- Strengthening risk reduction investment planning and regulations; and,
- Enhancing financial capacity to manage natural disaster risk.