Hidalgo: Philippines prone to natural disasters

Citizen Fe

THE Philippines, a country with more than 7,100 islands, is located within the circum-Pacific seismic belt.

Geographically, this makes the Philippines a disaster-prone country being able to experience earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tropical cyclones, and landslides, among many others.

Earthquakes are quite common in the country, which is also part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. According to scientists the ring has 452 volcanoes and is home to 75 percent of the world's active and dormant volcanoes.

The Phippines has around 200 volcanoes all over the archipelago. Fortunately only 21 are considered active. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), these active volcanoes are Pinatubo in Zambales; Mayon in Legaspi; Taal in Talisay, Batangas; Canlaon in Negros Oriental; Bulusan in Sorsogon; Smith, Didicas, Babuyan, Claro, and Camiguinde Babuyanes in Babuyan Islands; Vagus in Cagayan; Banahaw in Laguna; Iriga in Camarines Sur; Biliran in Biliran; and Iraya in Batanes.

In Mindanao, the active volcanoes are Ragan and Matutum in Cotabato; Hibok-Hibok in Mambajao, Camiguin; Calayo in Valencia Bukidnon; Bud Dajo in Jolo Island; Musuan in Bukidnon; and Makaturing in Lanao.

One of the most notable volcanic eruptions in the Philippines is Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The volcano now is also a tourist destination.

In terms of earthquakes, the worst happened in July 1990. A 7.8 earthquake was felt in the densely populated area in Luzon. It killed 1,621 from Cental Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region. Baguio City, where I lived was badly hit. A total of 28 buildings collapsed due to the quake. I remembered Hyatt Hotel, which was destroyed all the way to the ground floor. Factories, government and university buildings, and private homes were also destroyed.

The Philippines is also no stranger to typhoons. It is considered to be one of the most storm-exposed countries on earth. An average of 18-20 tropical storms enter the Philippine waters with eight or nine making a land fall.


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