Philippines: why is it prone to typhoons (in addition to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions)?


Manila: fearsome typhoons, volcanic eruptions and strong earthquakes. These are the three natural phenomena that regularly visit the people of the Philippines.

The island nation sits on the border of the earth’s major tectonic plates, while much of its territory straddles the world’s famous ‘typhoon belt’.

As a result, the archipelago, beautiful in itself and spread over 7,641 islands in the Pacific Northwest, is regularly hit by typhoons (and floods), landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and droughts.

What makes the Philippines prone to typhoons?

Each year, up to 20 storms are launched from the vast Pacific towards the Asian country. Some of them hit the land directly, leaving a trail of devastation: at least 60% of the country’s total area – nearly 300,000 km2 (116,000 square miles), a place larger than Arizona or the Nevada – is vulnerable to these monstrous tropical cyclones.

The location of the archipelago along the path of tropical storms coming from the largest ocean on the planet, as well as its location in the so-called “ring of fire”, explain the higher frequency of these triggers of natural disasters. .

TYPHOON PRONE: About 20 typhoons enter the Philippines region each year, with six to nine “making landfall”. Of the islands that make up the Philippines, northern Luzon and eastern Visayas are most commonly affected.
Image Credit: Tropical Cyclone Research Review

Why is it called the “belt of typhoons”?

The term typhoon belt refers to a massive region in the western Pacific Ocean which, with 165 million km2, can contain all the continents of the planet.

This “belt”, located in the Western Pacific, is where almost a third of the world’s tropical cyclones form.

Typhoons generally move west across the country, heading either north – or further west – as they go. Long-term climate data shows that this area is not only the most active in the world, but also hosts the most intense storms on the planet.

Philippine typhoon

Image Credit:

Much of the Philippines straddles this “belt”. Due to its geographical location, an average of 20 typhoons can hit the country per year.

What do the numbers show for this typhoon belt?

In a 2014 review of the landfall characteristics of tropical cyclones (TCs) across the planet, Japanese researchers led by Hironori Fudeyasu said the average number of TC formations from 1990 to 2011 was 77.8.


The national emergency helpline in the Philippines.

Using a simple metric to determine countries’ relative exposure to CT impacts, the researchers called the belt that faces the Pacific Northwest “TC-Landfall Country.”

This is attributed to the high rate of TC formation over the basin, according to the study published in the Tropical Cyclone Research Review.

Emergency numbers


Public Complaint Hotline in the Philippines. The 911 and 8888 hotline numbers are managed by the National 911 Emergency Office.

Which parts of the country are most prone to disasters?

According to the Asian Center for Flood Control (ACFC), 8 of the 10 most disaster-prone cities in the world are in the Philippines.

The Philippine cities included in the list, with their corresponding rankings, are:

> Tuguegarao in Cagayan (2nd)
> Lucena in the province of Quezon (3rd)
> Greater Manila (4th)
> City of San Fernando in Pampanga (5th)
> Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija (6th)
> Batangas (7th)
> San Carlos – (no province specified in the report) (9th)
> Naga in Camarines Sur (10th)

The provinces most prone to flooding are:

Philippine typhoon

Image Credit:

> Pampanga
> New Ecija
> Pangasina
> Tarlac
> Maguindanao
> Bulacan
> Metro Manila
> North Cotabato
> Eastern Mindoro
> and Ilocos North.


LAND: When the “eye” (center) of a storm moves over land, that’s when a tropical cyclone (TC) is classified as “making landfall.” Landing TCs can produce high winds, storm surges, and severe flooding that can result in loss of life and widespread damage.

What was the strongest typhoon in the Philippines?

“Haiyan”, called Yolanda in the Philippines, was the deadliest cyclone on record in the country, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

Bodies piled up in the streets

Bodies piled up in the streets as makeshift morgues are overrun following the devastation left by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 in Leyte. Most of the victims were buried in mass graves.
Image credit: Getty Images / AFP

Why are the Philippines frequented by earthquakes?

Volcanoes and earthquakes occur due to the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates. Hundreds of earthquakes are recorded every day in the country. Some can be strong at times.

Volcano Discovery, which tracks earthquakes, recorded an average of 28 earthquakes per day from January 7 to February 7, 2021. It is considered one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, according to the Nations Fund United for the people.

The Philippine Islands are part of what is known as the “Ring of Fire”, where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. The country has more than 300 volcanoes, 24 of which are active, according to Philvolcs.

Ring of Fire Philippines Data

The Ring of Fire is a chain of volcanoes and seismically active sites approximately 40,233 km around the Pacific Ocean. 1,500 – Number of active volcanoes in the world. The Pacific “The Ring of Fire” is home to 75% of the world’s volcanoes, with approximately 90% of the world’s earthquakes found within this so-called rim.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Gulf News

Most earthquakes occur along fissures on the planet’s surface, up to 90% of which occur inside this “ring”. This massive area is known for its many fractures (small and localized or thousands of miles long) where the Earth’s tectonic plates meet.

The Philippine archipelago straddles a number of seismically active fractures, or fault lines, characterized by the constant displacement of the earth’s crust relative to each other.


The average number of earthquakes per day recorded in the Philippines from January 7 to February 7, 2021, most of which are below magnitude 2, which cannot normally be felt, according to Volcano Discovery.

These constant movements can happen quickly, through earthquakes – or slowly, in the form of what geologists describe as “creep”. Over time, most of these faults produce repeated displacements.

They are constant reminders that the Earth is vast, complex, unpredictable and especially so in this part of the world.

What is the NDRRMC alert?

When a Filipino resident or visitor receives an alert from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) – usually an SMS sent to phone numbers in a certain geographic area – it means heavy rain has fallen. and will continue for the next three hours.

> This means that flooding threatens low-lying areas and near watercourses.
> Be prepared.
> Residents of affected areas should be prepared for possible evacuation due to threats of flooding.

Source link


Comments are closed.