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Death toll from ‘biological disasters’ up 328.7% in 2021

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

DEATHS due to biological disasters totaled 57,544 in 2021, up 328.7%, with the pandemic accounting for the vast majority of the deaths, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

The Compendium of Philippine Environment Statistics (CPES) Component 4 also lists as biological disasters those arising from bird strikes, fish kills, and pest infestation.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) deaths accounted for 57,517 of the total, up 328.6% from a year earlier.

A separate category tallying deaths “due to natural extreme events and disasters” registered 58,082 such demises in 2021, up 328.3%.

Damage to infrastructure caused by natural extreme events and disasters amounted to P35.45 billion. This was followed by damage to agriculture, valued at P25.22 billion, and damage to private or communication. In total, damage due to natural and extreme events and disasters amounted to P60.68 billion.

Meteorological events like typhoons and tropical cyclones accounted for 68 incidents leading to loss of life or property damage, or 32.5% of the total. Hydrological disasters like flash floods and storm surges tallied 57, geophysical disasters like coastal erosion, earthquakes, and volcanic activity numbered 44, the “other” category accounted for 29 incidents, while biological disasters numbered 11.

Damaged homes numbered 2.079 million in 2021 of which 438,590 were destroyed.

Some 3.563 million families were affected by natural extreme events and disasters in 2021.

The CPES, an offshoot of the United Nations Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics, seeks to measure the impact of extreme events on human well-being and infrastructure. — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo

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