Taken by storm: The economic impact

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Damage causes by typhoon Pablo in the Philippines in early December 2012

During Hurricane Sandy’s approach to the mainland US, New Yorkers took to Youtube to ridicule weather reports with their characteristic wry humor, chiding at the apocalyptic forecasts because only light wind and rain had come thus far. A few hours later no one was laughing.

By Justin Calderon

The force with which the super storm unleashed across the eastern coast of the US was unparalleled in recorded history, splintering swathes of New Jersey’s iconic boardwalks and sending a water surge that tossed boats on lawns of Staten Island homes like oversised and out-of-place garden gnomes. Many businesses have been wiped out and show no sign of reopening in the unfavourable economic climate.

This is but one example of wrath that natural disasters wreck on the economic and social fabric of society. In October 2011, floods across central Thailand inflicted such damage to the economy that the fourth quarter growth brought the year average to near zero.

Countries in the presumable or constant path of storms must develop infrastructure and contingency plans to alleviate the social and economic costs of the whims of the world’s weather. Though chastised for slow reaction to severely affected Staten Island and the return of electricity to vast proportion of the greater New York and Long Island area, the Obama administration and state governments had relatively more developed infrastructure on their side supported by proven contingency plans.

This is not the case in the emerging world – and all is needed is a comparative glance at the death toll to prove it.

Bopha’s bite

According to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the Philippines has bared the brunt of 228 weather and climate-related natural disasters in the last two decades, making it the most diaster-prone region in Southeast Asia, with northern Luzon and the eastern Visayas receiving the most frequent amount of typhoons in the country.

With the exception of the far southern region around the city of Zamboanga, the Philippines is constantly in the path of devastating weather. In 1993, the year with the most recorded storms, 19 typhoons moved across the country.

During the first week of December 2012, Typhoon Bopha (locally known as Pablo), the largest typhoon to ever hit Mindanao, swung through the southern island with winds reaching 260 km/h. The death toll has topped 1,000 people, 844 are still missing, and 400,000 have been displaced.

The economic toll for such storms is astounding: an estimated $173 million in damages to infrastructure and farms has been calculated, leading the UN to request a $65-million assistance package to provide food, sanitation facilities and shelter to affected regions.

There is no perfect way to safeguard against such a force, but infrastructure, including advanced drainage systems and modern housing, will need to become a priority if livelihoods (and thereby the economy that they build) are to be saved.

For the Philippines, super storms are set in the country’s trajectory and in order for growth to be maintained their eventuality must be accepted and lived with.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Damage causes by typhoon Pablo in the Philippines in early December 2012

During Hurricane Sandy’s approach to the mainland US, New Yorkers took to Youtube to ridicule weather reports with their characteristic wry humor, chiding at the apocalyptic forecasts because only light wind and rain had come thus far. A few hours later no one was laughing.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Damage causes by typhoon Pablo in the Philippines in early December 2012

During Hurricane Sandy’s approach to the mainland US, New Yorkers took to Youtube to ridicule weather reports with their characteristic wry humor, chiding at the apocalyptic forecasts because only light wind and rain had come thus far. A few hours later no one was laughing.

By Justin Calderon

The force with which the super storm unleashed across the eastern coast of the US was unparalleled in recorded history, splintering swathes of New Jersey’s iconic boardwalks and sending a water surge that tossed boats on lawns of Staten Island homes like oversised and out-of-place garden gnomes. Many businesses have been wiped out and show no sign of reopening in the unfavourable economic climate.

This is but one example of wrath that natural disasters wreck on the economic and social fabric of society. In October 2011, floods across central Thailand inflicted such damage to the economy that the fourth quarter growth brought the year average to near zero.

Countries in the presumable or constant path of storms must develop infrastructure and contingency plans to alleviate the social and economic costs of the whims of the world’s weather. Though chastised for slow reaction to severely affected Staten Island and the return of electricity to vast proportion of the greater New York and Long Island area, the Obama administration and state governments had relatively more developed infrastructure on their side supported by proven contingency plans.

This is not the case in the emerging world – and all is needed is a comparative glance at the death toll to prove it.

Bopha’s bite

According to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the Philippines has bared the brunt of 228 weather and climate-related natural disasters in the last two decades, making it the most diaster-prone region in Southeast Asia, with northern Luzon and the eastern Visayas receiving the most frequent amount of typhoons in the country.

With the exception of the far southern region around the city of Zamboanga, the Philippines is constantly in the path of devastating weather. In 1993, the year with the most recorded storms, 19 typhoons moved across the country.

During the first week of December 2012, Typhoon Bopha (locally known as Pablo), the largest typhoon to ever hit Mindanao, swung through the southern island with winds reaching 260 km/h. The death toll has topped 1,000 people, 844 are still missing, and 400,000 have been displaced.

The economic toll for such storms is astounding: an estimated $173 million in damages to infrastructure and farms has been calculated, leading the UN to request a $65-million assistance package to provide food, sanitation facilities and shelter to affected regions.

There is no perfect way to safeguard against such a force, but infrastructure, including advanced drainage systems and modern housing, will need to become a priority if livelihoods (and thereby the economy that they build) are to be saved.

For the Philippines, super storms are set in the country’s trajectory and in order for growth to be maintained their eventuality must be accepted and lived with.

 

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid