Friday, December 20, 2013

Philippines 'more and more vulnerable' to disasters, say officials, as well as Captain Hindsight

Imelda V. Abano in the Thomson Reuters Foundation: A spate of disasters in the Philippines that has caused substantial damage to agriculture, infrastructure and the economy, as well as a huge loss of lives, has underlined the need for stronger disaster management efforts and action to address climate change, experts said.

In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 5,000 people in the central Philippines and left many thousands more homeless, climate and disaster experts said disaster preparedness need to be scaled down to the local level and long-term solutions found to avert devastation worsened by climate change.

Severe typhoons like Haiyan may be the "new normal" for the region, said Simon Allen from the University of Bern in Switzerland, one of the authors of a recently published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. He told Thomson Reuters Foundation at the UN-backed climate talks in Warsaw that “the global frequency of tropical cyclones will change little (as a result of climate change) but the frequency of the most intense cyclones will increase in some regions.”

The Philippines, a low-lying country of over 100 million people, faces threats from more intense typhoons, dramatic changes in rainfall patterns, sea level rise, and increasing temperatures as a result of man-made climate change, experts said....

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