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Philippines: Tropical Cyclones and Insurgency

Tropical disaster scene in the Philippines

The people of the Philippines suffer from near-monthly tropical cyclones and near-daily insurgent attacks, but—as persistent as the natural disasters and insurgent violence have been in the Philippine archipelago—no one has ever analyzed the relationship between storms and insurgency within the Philippines. Our research focused on the statistical relationship between tropical cyclones and insurgent-initiated attacks at the provincial level, and we have concluded that separatists and extremists decrease attacks in the wake of a storm, while communists maintain attack levels after storms.

Based on these findings, the obvious policy recommendation for the Philippine government is to emphasize security when responding to natural disasters in regions where communist groups are prevalent. But there are several other challenges and opportunities for the Philippine government based on our findings, and these subsequent recommendations are also outlined in our report.

Our report explains our methodology, findings, and policy recommendations. We hope it will be useful to policy makers, security forces, and disaster relief agencies in the Philippines as national authorities balance the continual challenges imposed by natural disasters and insurgency.