Philippines among world's most disaster-prone countries

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Over the past two decades, the Philippines endured a total of 274 natural calamities, making it the fourth most disaster-prone country in the world.

This is based on “The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters,” a study conducted by the Geneva-based United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Belgian-based Centre on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). It covered the period between 1995 and 2015. 

According to the report, the other countries hit by the highest number of disasters were United States (472), China (441), India (288), and Indonesia (163).

The report also revealed that the Philippines was among the top ten countries with the most number of people affected by disasters, at 130 billion.

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Bohol quake, Yolanda

The last quarter of the year 2013 alone showed how catastrophic the impact of disasters could be for Filipinos.

On October 15, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake jolted Central Visayas, with the epicentre at Sagbayan, Bohol. A total of 222 individuals were reported dead, 976 injured, and eight missing.

The earthquake affected 3 million people – more than 300,000 of them were displaced when 73,000 houses were damaged. It also damaged P2.3 billion worth of seaports, airports, churches, and other infrastructures.

Less than a month after the Bohol quake, the country faced the strongest and deadliest typhoon in its history. Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on November 6 and in a span of three days claimed a staggering 6,300 lives.

The typhoon ravaged Tacloban on November 8, and affected 648 other cities and municipalities in 44 provinces. It changed the lives of 16 million individuals, displacing 800,000 families, damaging a million houses, and leaving up to P90 billion worth of damages.

As of April 2014, more than a thousand people remain missing, based on the latest report by the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Related: Remains of potential Typhoon Yolanda victims unearthed

Accounting to four in 10 deaths, storms were the deadliest type of weather-related disasters worldwide, the UNISR said. Floods comprised half of all natural disasters for the past 20 years, affecting 2.3 billion people.

'Almost daily occurrence'

Natural disasters such as floods, storms, heatwaves and droughts occur almost daily in different parts of the world.

The UNISDR report said the 6,457 weather-related events recorded since 1995 have caused 9 in 10 major disasters.

Asia is the region hardest hit by disasters which killed 332,000 people and affected 3.7 billion.

The UNISDR estimated economic losses for all types of natural disasters to be $250 billion to $300 billion annually, which have become a major challenge for developing countries.

Paris climate talks to improve world disaster situation

During the launch of the report on November 23, UNISDR Head Margareta Wahlström expressed hopes that the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris next week will result to an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Related: Obama: Time to act on climate change

She said this will help reduce damage and loss from disasters that are partly caused by global warming and rising sea levels.

“For now, there is a need to reduce existing levels of risk and avoid creating new risk by ensuring that public and private investments are risk-informed and do not increase the exposure of people and economic assets to natural hazards on flood plains, vulnerable low-lying coastlines or other locations unsuited for human settlement,” Wahlström said.