• PH second in list of countries worst hit by disasters

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    The Philippines ranked second in the top five of a list of countries most affected by natural disasters in 2013, according to a report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).

    The World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2014, an annual publication of the UN-OCHA that highlights major trends in the nature of humanitarian crises, said about 25.7 million Filipinos were affected by natural disasters last year.

    China topped the list with 27.5 million. India was third with 16.7 million, followed by Vietnam with 4.1 million and Thailand, 3.5 million.
    In November last year, the Philippines was hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall.

    Yolanda killed more than 6,000 people and displaced millions.
    UN-OCHA headed emergency, relief and rehabilitation plans for the victims of the typhoon.

    The report said that last year, “the humanitarian community was confronted with emergencies of unprecedented magnitude.”

    Aside from those affected by natural disasters, it added that some 51.2 million people have been affected by conflict.

    There were also 1.2 million asylum seekers last year, 33.3 million internally displaced people and 16.7 million refugees.

    Based on this data, there were 148.2 million people worldwide affected by natural disasters and conflict in 2013.

    UN-OCHA said “crises [have become]longer and more expensive.”
    In the last 10 years, the funding requirements of inter-agency appeals increased by 600 percent, from $3 billion in 2004 to $17.9 billion in 2014.

    “In the same amount of time, the number of people targeted for assistance has more than doubled,” the report said.

    The rise in funding requirements is the reason “partnerships” with general public, social media, news media, eyewitnesses, non-government organizations, government sources and for-profit businesses have become more important.

    Although social media is still an “experimental field,” the humanitarian community can make most of this opportunity because social media users provide data collection and analysis.

    Microblogging site Twitter, in particular, “is providing a new avenue of valuable data. To make the most of it, we first need to understand who is using it and how,“ the report said.

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