_PH historical disaster.,

Box 1: The July 1990 Luzon Earthquake
The Philippines suffered a major earthquake of intensity 7.7 on the Richter scale in July 1990 with an epicenter near San Jose City, Nueva Province, Luzon. Some 100,000 km2 including all of North and Central Luzon as well as parts of Central Luzon were affected by the earthquake, with most serious damage over an area of some 15,000 km2. The cities or towns of Baguio, Dagupan, Agoo, Aringay and Pura were particularly badly affected whilst Tarlac, Cabantuan, Rizal and Manila were marginally damaged (Rantucci, 1994). Total damage was estimated at P 12.2bn according to NDCC data. Some 56% of damages occurred to infrastructure, 12% damage to agriculture and 32 % to private property, principally non-housing properties. Some 1,293 lives were also lost.
The earthquake resulted in temporary major disruptions to transportation, communications and power networks and to the supply of water for agricultural purposes, affecting agricultural production capabilities and marketing and distribution arrangements in the short to medium term. As of 1993, road communications had still not yet been fully restored (Alatec-Harris-Tym Group, 1993). Fishponds and almost 87,000ha of rice land was destroyed, including 60,000ha of irrigated land and some fourteen national and 174 communal irrigation systems. The livestock population declined rapidly as animals were killed either accidentally as a consequence of the earthquake or deliberately to meet short-term food requirements (Fernandez and Gordon, 1993). Post-harvest and storage facilities and several dams were also damaged. Several dams suffered damage. In particular, Ambuklao Dam, located near Baguio, was silted up to a few meters below water level forcing the shutdown of electricity production and hampered irrigation activities. The dam had been expected to have a useful life of around 50 years but this was reduced to 28 years as a consequence of the earthquake (Rantucci, 1994).
Production capacity at the Baquio Export Processing Zone, at the time one of only four in the country, was also severely affected. One building in the EPZ housing two garment firms, one plastics firm, one electronics firm and one pipe fittings firm collapsed entirely whilst another building housing seven firms was partly damaged. Losses from the Baguio EPZ together with those from the mining sector were estimated at around US$35m (P 851m) between mid-July and the end of August 1990 alone (Philippine NEDA, no date).
Source: After Benson (1997)
The government responded with the introduction of a stabilization program at the beginning of 1991, including efforts to improve the fiscal deficit and control the money supply. However, any hopes of improved economic performance were thwarted by further disasters, including the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in July 1991 (Box 2), Super Typhoon Trining in late October and the Ormoc flood towards the end of the year. These disasters contributed to negative GDP growth rates of 0.6 % year-on-year, in turn largely reflecting lower growth in Central Luzon and the Metro Manila region and tight monetary and fiscal policy as the government strove to meet pre-determined IMF economic targets.
Box 2: Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo
Mt. Pinatubo, a volcano located on the west coast of Central Luzon some 100 km northwest of Manila, violently erupted in July 1991. The eruption, one of the largest globally in the 20th century, caused severe damage. Some 6 km3 of pyroclastic material was deposited in river basins whilst a further 1 km3 of ash was deposited across an area up to 40 km from the volcano, effectively altering the hydrology of the whole region (USACE, 1994). Fallout affected a total area of 340,000 km2 (PHIVOLCS, 1991). The impact of the eruption was exacerbated by Typhoon Diding, which occurred immediately after the eruption scattering water-soaked ash over a very large area and causing massive mudflows. These, in turn, covered large areas of agricultural land and destroyed buildings, bridges and roads and other infrastructure. Minor eruptions continued until 4 September 1991.
The provinces of Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac and part of Bataan, all in Region III, were most severely affected by the initial eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Some 80,000 ha of agricultural lands and fishponds was buried by ash and the initial lahars; transport, communications, power, irrigation and other infrastructure as well as houses and public buildings were damaged; drains and other water conduits were blocked, increasing the risk of flooding; commercial and industrial operations in the cities of Angeles and Olongapo suspended; some 600,000 jobs lost, equivalent to around a quarter of total employment in Central Luzon; and 200,000 people evacuated at the height of the eruption (PHIVOLCS, 1991).
Subsequent lahars generated by heavy rainfall have occurred in every year since the eruption, although lahar dykes defenses have gradually been constructed to contain lahars and reduce losses. The lahars have caused extensive damage to agriculture and infrastructure, for example, lahars in 1991 and 1992 alone affected almost 260,000 persons and destroyed 4,190 houses. The continued annual threat of lahars has created certain problems in designing appropriate rehabilitation programs for livelihood creation and for the reconstruction of infrastructure.
Prior to July 1991, Central Luzon had been the Philippine’s prime rice growing region, accounting for 20.5% of national palay production and 15.7% of gross acreage. Ten years on, in 2000, it accounted for 15.2% of national production and 13.% of gross acreage. Sugar production and aquaculture had also been important. For example, had Central Luzon produced some 45 percent of the country’s total fishpond production in 1990. By 1994 aquaculture output from the region was still only some 60 percent of previous levels due to the obstruction of water flows and tidal exchange. Coastal and freshwater fishing operations as well as fragile eco-systems, including mangroves and coral, were also disrupted by increased siltation, changing river flow patterns and destruction of breeding areas (USACE, 1994). These problems have continued as more ash is washed downstream.
Source: After Benson (1997)


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