Loren notes huge losses from natural disasters

SENATOR Loren Legarda urged public and private sector leaders to incorporate disaster risk reduction principles in their investment strategies and plans to avert economic losses citing a report from the United Nations that a huge US$2,245 billion loss has been recorded due to climate change.

Legarda noted that according to the Global Champion for Resilience of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction this October focuses on Target C of the Sendai Framework, which aims to reduce direct disaster economic losses in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

Citing the report “Economic Losses, Poverty and Disasters 1998-2017” released by the UNISDR, Legarda said that, for the period of 1998 to 2017, countries reported direct economic losses of US$2,908 billion, with climate-related disasters accounting for 77% or US$2,245 billion -- a “dramatic” rise of 151% from climate-related losses compared to the period of 1978 to 1997 (US$895 billion).

The study also reported that in low-income countries, an average of 130 people died per million living in disaster-affected areas, compared to just 18 in high-income countries, which entails that people exposed to natural hazards in the poorest nations were more than seven times more likely to die than equivalent populations in the richest nations.

“What recent studies confirm is that our economic losses from disasters, especially from climate change impacts, have been far greater than before. This further compels us to reduce disaster risks and address climate impacts by integrating these measures in our anchor strategies and plans,” Legarda said.

The senator noted that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) had earlier reported that disasters cost the Philippine economy P206 billion yearly, with an annual cumulative impact reaching 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent of our GDP.

“The UN report reflects the unfortunate reality that many of our poor Filipinos experience in our disaster-prone country. Poverty breeds inequality by exacerbating our people’s risk and vulnerability to disaster and climate impacts. We need to bridge the gap in resources and information our communities need in order to build resilience against these disasters,” Legarda said.