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PH lands on list of countries most prone to quakes

MANILA, Philippines—Ranked as the most disaster-prone country for 13 years, the Philippines now also emerged as the ninth most earthquake-threatened nation worldwide, experiencing 581 quakes in 2023 alone, recent UK research showed.


Situated in the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire,’ the Philippines is naturally prone to seismic activity. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the country experiences an estimated 100 to 150 earthquakes annually.


study by Utility Bidder, a UK-based business energy consultancy company, said that the Philippines endured 581 earthquakes in 2023 alone, ranking it ninth most earthquake-prone country in the world.


Among these was a devastating magnitude 7.4 earthquake that hit Hinatuan in Surigao Del Sur last December 2, which was caused by movements in the Philippine trench. The strong quake led to more than 6,500 aftershocks and claimed three lives.


Indonesia topped the list after experiencing 1,941 earthquakes last year. According to the study, the largest recorded a magnitude of 7.1.


“An earthquake with a magnitude over seven is considered a major earthquake. Severe damage will have occurred at the epicenter,” the researchers noted.


In addition to the Philippines and Indonesia, the list of countries most vulnerable to earthquakes include:


  • Mexico (2nd): 1,548 significant earthquakes

  • Turkey (3rd): 847 significant earthquakes

  • Chile (4th): 810 significant earthquakes

  • Japan (5th): 780 significant earthquakes

  • Syria (6th): 724 significant earthquakes

  • Papua New Guinea (7th): 666 significant earthquakes

  • Guatemala (8th): 624 significant earthquakes

  • Peru (10th): 486 significant earthquakes


The study accounted for any quake with an epicenter within 300 kilometers of the country and a magnitude of 4 or above.


Costly disasters


The study shed light on the escalating financial toll of disasters, revealing that in 2022, the total cost amounted to an astonishing £178 billion, equivalent to $223.84 billion or over P12 trillion.


This figure represents a 43% increase from numbers a decade ago, when the global cost of natural disasters in 2012 was recorded at £125 billion, illustrating a significant upward trend in the economic impact of these catastrophic events.


“Flooding was much more of a problem in 2022 than in 2012. In 2012, flooding cost the world nearly £21 billion in damages, whereas, In 2022, flooding cost over £35 billion — 74% more than ten years ago,” the study said.


“Earthquakes showed the most significant decrease in costs, falling from £15 billion in 2012 to £10 billion in 2022, a 33% drop,” it added.


PH: Still most disaster-prone country


Referencing the 2022 World Risk Index, the UK-based research underscored the Philippines’ position as the country most vulnerable to disasters globally.


That year, Asia was prominently represented among the 10 most at-risk nations, with the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, Bangladesh, and Pakistan all making the list.


The World Risk Index evaluates the risk of disaster from extreme natural events across 193 countries, providing insights into each nation’s susceptibility and resilience to natural catastrophes.


“Extreme natural events cannot be prevented directly. However, governments can reduce risk by strengthening education and health, fighting poverty, and taking preparedness measures,” the study said.


“Countries that install and use early warning systems, build earthquake-proof buildings, and invest in climate and environmental protection are better prepared against extreme natural events,” it continued.


In the latest World Risk Index report by the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict and Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, the Philippines continued to be recognized as the world’s most disaster-prone country in 2023, maintaining its position at the forefront of risk since 2011.


Climate change and energy consumption


The study highlighted climate change as a key driver of escalating global disaster frequencies.


“Higher temperatures also lead to more water vapor being evaporated into the atmosphere, contributing to the intensity of storms,” the study said.


Additionally, it pointed out that warmer sea surface temperatures could boost wind speeds, heightening the risk of tropical storms. Rising sea levels further expose additional areas to the erosive power of waves and currents, amplifying flood risks.


Utility Bidder also linked climate change to global increases in energy consumption.


The firm emphasized the urgency for businesses to “take a more proactive approach to their energy consumption and compare their business energy suppliers to ensure they get the most efficient energy supply and the best business electricity rates,” urging companies to adopt more sustainable practices.



Source: msn.com

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