The Philippines is the country most exposed to tropical cyclones across Southeast Asia.
Severe storms, known locally as a 'baguios', often lead to a considerable loss of life. Flooding, landslides and high winds can all contribute to the death toll during a storm. Populations situated in vulnerable locations, for example on low-lying coastal areas or on slopes prone to landslides, are particularly at risk. Lives may also be lost at sea when fishing boats are unable to avoid the storm. Widespread damage to infrastructure and crops as a result of tropical storms also has an impact on the economy of the Philippines.
In 1991, Tropical Storm Thelma made landfall in the Visayan Islands of the Philippines, killing over 5000 people and leaving 20,000 homeless. Deaths resulted from extensive flash flooding, the failure of a dam and numerous landslides. Such large events highlight the threat to the population of the Philippines from such a destructive natural disaster.
Alongside any possible changes to tropical storms as a result of a 4 °C rise in global average temperature, the potential rise in sea-level across Southeast Asia could further increase the country's vulnerability to tropical cyclones.
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