Climate disasters changing Phl demographic profile

  • 16 December 2014, Tuesday

Source: The Philippine Star
15 Dec 2014

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – Climate change-related disasters are shaping the country’s demographic profile, experts have said.

This development is said to be exemplified by recent catastrophes that devastated several areas in the Philippines, including Super Typhoon Yolanda, which hit the country in November last year.

In a recent lecture at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) hosted by the government at the University of the Philippines - Los Baños (UPLB), Sen. Cynthia Villar cited that many people from affected localities moved to urban areas, including Metro Manila, after the onslaught of Yolanda.

Villar cited a report by German think tank Germanwatch indicating that the Philippines was the number one country affected by climate change in 2013, followed by Cambodia and India.

Meanwhile, a study done by the International Institute for Environment and Development estimated that more than 634 million people or about one tenth of the global population live in low elevation coastal zones and will be severely affected by climate change effects.

The study found that the Philippines is among 10 countries with the highest population densities in coastal and low-lying areas, along with Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, China, India, and the United States.

Former UP School of Economics dean and now Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority director general Arsenio Balisacan had said that looking closely at the coastal dwellers’ profile, the incidence of poverty among fisherfolk is disturbingly high. 

Not only are the fisherfolk among the country’s poorest segment of the population. They along with farmers are also among the most vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly those generated by climate change, he said.

This theory is also acknowledged by about 400 scientists, economists, academics, farmer-leaders, and other stakeholders who attended the Nov. 12-13 Second International Conference on Agricultural and Rural Development in Southeast Asia in Makati City organized by SEARCA.