Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tacloban: In the jaws of a 'climate sandwich'

Pia Ranada in the Rappler: No wonder it was the worst hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Tacloban City was deemed the most vulnerable to climate change among 4 Philippine cities assessed by a new study.

From a range of 1 to 10 – with 10 being most vulnerable – Tacloban was rated 6.74 in terms of how exposed it is to climate change impacts, like stronger storms, extreme droughts, sea level rise, and aggravated flooding and landslides.

The study, conducted by Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines and BPI Foundation, gave this score based on 3 factors: climate or environmental exposure, socio-economic sensiti
vity, and capacity to adapt.

Tacloban's location on the country's eastern seaboard exposes it to many climate risks, like tropical cyclones during the southwest monsoon. Even before Typhoon Yolanda hit the city on Nov 8, 2013, Tacloban was already feeling the effects of a shifting climate.

Records show that from 1998 to 2011, there was a 257% increase in rainfall, from 1,853 mm to 4,768 mm. Over a 50-year period, the city has been hit by an average of 2.3 typhoons a year. No wonder more flooding has been reported by residents.

Geohazard maps of the city also show high susceptibility to landslides, particularly for its upland villages. Being only 3 meters above sea level, Tacloban is also threatened by sea level rise. Studies show that seas can rise by 4 to 6 meters due to climate change. For these reasons, Tacloban is said to be within the jaws of a "climate sandwich."...

Tacloban shortly after Haiyan in November 2013, shot by Trocaire, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr,  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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