Due to the Philippines’ natural geography, typhoons are pretty much unavoidable—making them part of every Filipino’s life. On average, the country is hit by 20 typhoons per year. While there are already contingencies in place to help mitigate these natural disasters, these are not always enough to prevent typhoons from destroying private property, livelihood, and even large parts of the country.
Here’s a list of 10 of the worst typhoons to hit the Philippines from 2009 to 2021:
1. Typhoon Ondoy (2009)
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo described Ondoy as a “once-in-a-lifetime typhoon” when it hit the Philippines. With data recording 464 dead, 529 injured, and 37 missing due to the inclement weather, Ondoy’s rainfall lasted a full month and affected nearly a million families or close to five million people in 2,018 barangays in 172 municipalities and 16 cities of 12 regions.
Damages amounted to P23 billion, accounting for destroyed crops and infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and daycare centers around the Philippines.
2. Typhoon Glenda (2014)
When Glenda hit in 2014, it sustained wind speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour and ended up affecting Regions I, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, VIII, and the National Capital Region. Glenda left 38 people dead, 10 injured, and 8 missing. Along with this, it damaged two grounded, commercial airplanes.
3. Typhoon Pedring (2011)
With wind speeds up to 213 kilometers per hour, Pedring ended up being the worst typhoon since Ondoy in 2009. Even if the harsh rains only lasted a week, data still found 66 dead, 65 injured, and 28 missings, mostly from Metro Manila. It was estimated that Pedring’s damages added up to a total of P3.45 billion.
4. Typhoon Pablo (2012)
In 2012, Pablo devastated Mindanao, triggering landslides that killed more than 1,000 people in affected southern provinces. Pablo ended up destroying entire villages, causing several floods, and flattening whole banana plantations, among other things.
5. Typhoon Ompong (2018)
The NDRRMC reported over 800,000 people to have been affected by Ompong, particularly those in the Cordillera region. It caused landslides, storm surges, and flash floods—amounting to P1.65 billion in agricultural losses and P52 million in damages to infrastructure.
6. Typhoon Lando (2015)
Lando severely hit Aurora, Quezon when it made landfall almost a decade ago. The NDRRMC reported 48 dead, 83 injured, and 4 missing during the time. As it was the 12th storm to hit the country that year, it also ended up being the most destructive one. It wrecked houses and schools and brought up to P5.9 billion worth of damage to 277 thousand hectares of agricultural land.
7. Typhoon Rolly (2020)
With wind speeds of 225 kilometers per hour, Typhoon Rolly resulted in 25 dead, 399 injured, and 6 missing people. The NDRRMC reported that the cost of the damage went up to P11 billion.
Due to the typhoon arriving at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases also rose dramatically due to overcrowding and poor health and sanitation in evacuation centers.
8. Typhoon Ulysses (2020)
Ulysses was the 21st storm to hit the country this year, bringing more devastation just a few months after Rolly. The compounded effects of the previous typhoon and the ongoing pandemic notably sparked a mass student strike, with students all over Luzon clamoring for an academic break.
9. Typhoon Odette (2021)
Odette was the 15th storm to hit the Philippines in 2021. Ranked globally as the second deadliest natural disaster of the year, the NDRRMC reported up to 408 fatalities and damages that amounted to P33 billion.
10. Super Typhoon Yolanda (2013)
Yolanda is often referred to as the strongest typhoon to ever hit the Philippines. When it hit in 2013, it killed more than 6,000 people and displaced 600,000 more. Coconut and rice farmers were notably the most affected sector. They reported up to P21 billion lost in combined agricultural goods, on top of a total cost of P95.5 billion in recorded damages.
Months after the typhoon, many families and workers were still left struggling without homes and livelihood. As late as January this year, nearly a decade after Yolanda, over 8,000 families still live in poor conditions due to the permanent housing crisis it caused.
As individuals, being aware of the actual damage caused by these typhoons yearly can make a significant difference when preparing for disasters at home. While there may be no way to predict or fully prepare for what the next calamity may bring, keeping ourselves informed of these past disasters is a good way to know what may come next and how it may shape our future.
At a larger scale, monitoring and fully understanding these trends along with other relevant data is vital for key stakeholders. In turn, this can inform more founded and data-based risk mitigation and management decisions which are sustainable and impactful on a local to national level. These measures are especially important in empowering citizens who are disaster-ready and resilient for years to come.
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