Climate Risk Management in Bicol (Philippines)
The Philippines, due to its geographical location and physical environment, is highly vulnerable to typhoons, floods and droughts. On average, the country faces about 20 typhoons annually. These events trigger landslides, flash floods, mudslides, widespread flooding and together with the associated high winds, cause destruction and damage to homes, community buildings, communications, infrastructure, roads, bridges, agricultural crops and fishing farms. In 2006 in a span of ten weeks from 25 September to 1 December, the country was hit by three extremely destructive typhoons. Typhoon Reming, which hit on 30 November was the most destructive, severely affecting all the six provinces of the Bicol Region (Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon and Masbate).The typhoon Reming brought 466 mm of rainfall, the highest in 40 years. It damaged 18,786 ha planted to rice at varying stages of growth and the damage to investment losses in terms of input costs such as seeds, fertilizers and labor was valued at P153.8 million.
Bicol Region (known as Region V) consists of the six provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catandauanes, Masbate and Sorsogon. It has one chartered city, six component cities, 107 municipalities and 3, 371 barangays. It has a population of more than 5 million and is the home of the famous Mayon Volcano. Topography ranges from slightly undulating to rolling and from hilly to mountainous. Owing to its diverse terrain with high mountains and volcanic landforms and extensive valley interspersed with rivers and lakes, the Region is exposed to high annual and seasonal rainfall variability. The Region is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons, flash floods, strong winds, thunderstorms and drought. Moreover, the seasonal variations in weather, especially of rainfall, cause variations in production and seasonal price fluctuations, which affect the income of the farmers significantly. It is expected that the impacts of climate change will further exacerbate the regions 's exposure to climate –induced risks.The provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon are particularly vulnerable to climate-related hazards. These prompted the Philippine Government to request FAO assistance to DA and PAGASA in designing and testing good practices and a proactive risk reduction and management strategy for agriculture and fisheries in the Bicol Region.