by Rick Daligdig
Once again just in the months of September – October several typhoons visit our country some of them categorizes as Super Typhoons like Karding which in less than 24 hours it morphed into it, a very rare experience in the world of weather forecasting. Just this month also another strong typhoon Paeng dumped heavy rain on his path leaving many cities and provinces submerged in deep flood waters and leaving a death toll of almost 151 casualties (as of this writing). Although we learn so much in terms of disaster preparedness being a country which is the gateway to the typhoons in the Pacific Ocean. We must review and reintegrate our disaster preparedness measures, protocols and SOP so that we can minimize…at the very least the casualties in lives and properties.
We cannot deny the fact these severe weather disturbances we experience like El Nino, La Nina, super typhoons, etc. are the end product of global climate change happening on our planet. Moreover climate change, if not being addressed NOW will have a very very big implication and threat to our local as well as global economy.
Being a developing country we are the victims of severe climate change which hampers to our economic growth. Let’s take a look on this latest super bagyo Paeng, The total damage in the agriculture sector was pegged at PHP2.74 billion, with at least 101,831 metric tons of production loss. In effect, there is supply disruption in the market. According Department of Agriculture price monitoring, prices of vegetables have increased between PHP20 and PHP30. Some had a PHP40 increase but the DA is looking at reducing this to PHP10 and PHP20 until the prices reach the pre-typhoon level.
The damage to infrastructure, based on the latest assessment, was at P760 million–the hardest hit were Bicol Region with P375 million, Central Visayas with P272 million, and Northern Mindanao with P110 million. These figures may still update as reports to different offices comes in. The effects of these are higher transport cost to deliver the goods and services due to unpassable roads due to landslide, bridges that are destroyed and some area that flooded.
In one of the study conducted by Asian Development Bank, Typhoons are shown to have a significant negative, but short-lived impact on local economic activity in the Philippines, as proxied by the intensity of light usage at night measured from satellites. Using this proxy, an analysis of the historical distribution of typhoons was conducted to predict future impacts. A key finding was that frequent, low-damaging typhoons are likely to reduce local economic activity by around 1%, while rarer, but more intense typhoons, will cause a reduction of up to nearly 3%. Another finding was that the severity of the impacts will differ widely between regions in the Philippines.
In one of my writings last year, on the onslaught of typhoon Odette the strongest typhoon last 2021, I reiterate the crucial need of a department level agency that will spearhead the disaster risk efforts in the country. Until this day, I didn’t change my tone to appeal to the authorities, especially on the legislature to pass the bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience. The creation of this department will not only allow us to level up our disaster response effort to different calamities not just typhoons but also a major step in investing to being a disaster proof country.
Part 2 will come shortly…