5 Reasons the Philippines Is So Disaster Prone
Warm ocean waters, low-lying coasts, and poverty help explain what makes disasters like Super Typhoon Haiyan dangerous in the Philippines.
From earthquakes to volcanic eruptions to previous super typhoons, death tolls following cataclysmic events in the Philippines tend to be high. Here are 5 reasons why:
Located just above the equator, the Philippines faces the western Pacific without much else in the way to take the force of storms before they make landfall. Those warm, equatorial waters power storms, about 20 typhoons a year. (See related, “Typhoon, Hurricane, Cyclone: What's the Difference?”)
"It has the warmest ocean temperatures in the world. We call it the warm pool around Indonesia and the Philippines," says atmospheric scientist Colin Price of Israel's Tel Aviv University.
"You need temperatures above 28°C (82.4°F) for typhoons to form. In the western Pacific, the water's normally above 28 degrees,"