Asia-Pacific Suffers Worst Natural Disasters in 2013

Manila Bulletin, March 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Asia-Pacific Suffers Worst Natural Disasters in 2013


The Asia-Pacific region suffered the worst natural disasters in 2013, with the Philippines experiencing the biggest number, said a report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

That makes the Philippines, which suffered from the deadliest typhoon in recent history, the third most disaster-prone country in the world.

Last year, the Philippines suffered 16 natural disasters that resulted to the death of 8,382 people, the report said.

*Deadliest Event

The onslaught of super-typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) in Nov. 8, 2013, considered the deadliest event that year, affected the largest number of people and caused the greatest economic loss.

Latest data revealed that the storm killed over 6,000 people, affected around 14 million and displaced roughly four million people. Some experts estimate the typhoon was among the strongest ever to make landfall.

*Earthquake

Less than a month before the devastation of Yolanda, Bohol and nearby provinces in Central Visayas were hit by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. In Oct. 15, the earthquake instantly killed at least 223 people, injured 159 and affected over 350,000 mostly in Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor provinces. At the peak of the crisis, the report said nearly 600 evacuation centers existed in the affected areas.

Three months after the earthquake, 1,910 people were still displaced in official evacuation centers while significant needs in shelter, early recovery and health services remain, the report said.

*In Asia-Pacific

The Asia Pacific region was hit by 137 natural disasters compared with 93 separate events in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of people killed by disasters was almost six times higher in 2013 than in 2012.

*18,375 Killed

OCHA said the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters recorded 18,375 people killed and 82 million affected.

However, the report said the number of people affected by natural disasters in 2013 was only slightly higher than the number in 2012. The Southeast Asia floods from June to October 2013 affected more than 3.9 million people in four countries (Cambodia,Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Thailand). China and India were also heavily affected by floods.

*Other Disasters

Other notable events during the year in the region included Super-Typhoon Labuyo/Utor (China and the Philippines), Tropical Storm Maring/Trami (China and the Philippines), Typhoon Santi/Nari (the Philippines and Viet Nam) and Typhoon Mahasen (Bangladesh and Sri Lanka).

*Floods

The OCHA report said the most frequently occurring hazards in the region were floods, which accounted for 40 percent of the region's disasters, while 35 percent were storms. …

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