The number of people killed in the Philippines storm has risen to 19.
The death toll from a typhoon that caused landslides and flash floods across the Philippines has increased to at least 19, authorities said Thursday, blaming climate change for the heavy rainfall.
Tropical Storm Warning As it raced across the archipelago nation this week, Kompasu dumped more than a month’s worth of rain in two days, according to national disaster agency spokesperson Mark Timbal.
The southwest monsoon, which had already drenched swaths of the disaster-prone country, was exacerbated by Kompasu, which was named after the Japanese pronunciation of “compass.”
The storm wreaked havoc on the Philippines’ most populous island, Luzon, causing more than a billion pesos ($20 million) in damage to the agriculture sector and destroying hundreds of homes.
Timbal stated the rain was “much larger than the Ondoy experience,” alluding to Typhoon Ketsana, also known as Tropical Storm Ondoy in the Philippines, which hit in 2009 and killed hundreds of people.
“When it comes to the increasing magnitude of these natural calamities, this just proves the effect of climate change,” Timbal added.
“This continues to be a challenge for our disaster management system, since we must always be prepared for the worst-case scenario for any natural hazard.”
Climate change increases the danger and intensity of flooding from intense rainfall because a warmer atmosphere contains more water.
So far, nineteen people have died, the bulk of whom were caught in flash floods in the province of Ilocos Sur in the northwestern Philippines.
Another 11 reported fatalities are being investigated by the disaster agency, most of which are in the landlocked mountainous province of Benguet.
There are a total of 14 persons who have gone missing.
The “shifting nature” of the threats, according to Timbal, made it difficult to meet their goal of zero casualties.
“Each hazard is distinct from the next,” he explained.
“Climate change has created a new normal.”
Nearly 15,000 people fled their houses, but only roughly half stayed in evacuation centers, according to Timbal. Fearing contracting the coronavirus, the rest sought refuge with friends or family.
On Tuesday, a storm raced over the South China Sea into Hong Kong, prompting the world financial center to take shelter.
The Philippines, which is one of the world’s most vulnerable to the effects of global warming, is slammed by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, destroying crops, homes, and infrastructure in already destitute areas.