Floods engulf Philippines as President declares ‘state of disaster’

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard wade through flooding during a rescue operation in Isabela City, Basilan province, Philippines, January 11, 2023.

Philippine Coast Guard | via Reuters

The Philippines has been grappling with torrential rains, flooding and landslides since early January, prompting evacuations and prompting President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to declare an official “state of disaster” in the southern province of Misamis Occidental.

At least 28 people have died in January and more than 211,000 people have been displaced, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Torrential rains have occurred almost every day this month, destroying homes, agriculture and infrastructure across the country.

The downpours occur even though the Philippines is typically in its cool dry season from December to February. Areas affected include Misamis Occidental, the Northern Mindanao region and the Eastern Visayas in central Philippines.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, is among the countries hardest hit by climate-related disasters in the world, but contributes only marginally to global climate change.

The Philippines is typically hit by 20 typhoons each year and about six to nine storms that make landfall annually. The country also experiences frequent landslides and flooding, due in part to the increasing intensity of tropical cyclones.

The President, who recently oversaw the distribution of relief supplies at Misamis Occidental, said there must be a long-term solution to the country’s flooding.

“We’re looking at everything to find a solution,” says Marcos said last week. “But in the long term we have to think about how we can make it so that something like this never happens again.”

This month’s deadly floods have sparked fears about how climate change is being triggered more frequent and intense extreme weather across the country. Typhoons, sea level rise and storm surges, all of which put the Philippines’ urban and coastal populations at high risk, are projected to increase as climate change worsens.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/18/floods-devastate-philippines-president-declares-state-of-calamity-.html Floods engulf Philippines as President declares ‘state of disaster’

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