In 2017, President Duterte’s administration defunded Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazard), the Philippines’ main program for disaster risk reduction, prevention and mitigation. Lodged under the central government’s Department of Science and Technology, Project NOAH was a flagship program by the previous government administration, which aimed to provide a…

Within the past month alone, the Philippines experienced three typhoons and two tropical storms. Although naturally occurring and predicted, the typhoons ravaged communities and destroyed countless lives because of the immense strength of their winds. This led civil society groups to demand a declaration of a State of Climate Emergency because the magnitude of these typhoons have become exponentially stronger than those in the past.The President of the Philippines is reportedly still mulling over whether to declare a State of Climate Emergency, begging the question, “Is there evidence that could support this claim?” I reviewed data from Super-typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which shows that these occurrences have become stronger over the past ten years, and may be largely due to anthropogenic climate change.

The map below shows the reported geophysical hazards in the Philippines, particularly on the risk to typhoons of each geo-political region in the country. The darkest shade of green represents areas that have “very high” risk to typhoons, while the lightest shade of green are those that have “very low” risk. The map shows that regions in the northern-most part of the country have the highest risk to typhoons based on historical data of typhoons that have entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

Philippines: Officially Reported Risk to Typhoons based on Geophysical Hazards in the Philippines

However, despite being published after Super-typhoon Haiyan, the historical data based on the previous map no longer represents actual occurrences in the country. The map below shows the path of Super-typhoon Haiyan in 2013, as well as the regions that were affected, outlined in pink.

Super-typhoon Haiyan originated from the east-southeast of the Philippines. It entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) as a Category 5 tropical cyclone (wind speed of 156 mph and above) until it exited northwest. Based on these findings, Super-typhoon Haiyan made landfall in regions that have historically considered low to medium risk to typhoons. In fact, in the southern part of the Philippines, regions that are considered very low risk were also affected.

Ana Maria Raymundo

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