Of the 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards, eight are in the Philippines, according to research which also showed that over half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters were found in four Asian nations.
The study published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft analysed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities.
It said of the 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural hazards, 21 were located in the Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan and eight in Bangladesh.
Of the 13 countries deemed least able to cope with natural disasters, 11 were in sub-Saharan Africa, with Somalia coming bottom for the fourth consecutive year, the study showed.
Besides the risk of volcanic eruptions, quakes and floods, the Philippines is hit by more than 20 typhoons every year.
The biggest typhoon in recent years was Haiyan which struck the Southeast Asian country in 2013, leaving more than 7,000 people dead or missing. More than 1 million houses were totally or partially damaged in the aftermath.
“Natural hazard risk is compounded in the Philippines by poor institutional and societal capacity to manage, respond and recover from natural hazard events,” the report said.
It added that disaster risk reduction strategies in the Philippines were improving after the “widely criticised” response to Haiyan.
Better communication and the evacuation of 1.7 million people meant that Typhoon Hagupit, a category 3 storm, killed only 27 people in December 2014.
The report rated the Philippines’ capital Manila with a population of almost 12 million as the fourth most exposed city in the world. Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, was considered most vulnerable to natural hazards, followed by Taguegarao and Lucena in the Philippines.
Port Vila and Taipei City, in Taiwan, were the only cities outside the Philippines to feature in the top 10.
This article is published in collaboration with Thomson Reuters Foundation. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Joseph D’Urso is an intern at Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Image: Children look out of a window at an evacuation centre for a coastal community sheltering from Typhoon Hagupit, near Manila. REUTERS/Cheryl Gagalac