Deforestation Linked to Philippines Disaster

Officials blame widespread deforestation for the natural disaster that buried 1,000 people

As floods and landslides have buried more than 1,000 people and disrupted the balance of almost 338,000 others in 13 provinces, authorities are now trying to identify the cause.

Most experts agree on the fact that climate change and deforestation have played an important part in this equation, amplifying the tragedy, Mongabay informs.

President Benigno Aquino has called for an investigation aiming to provide viable answers. At this point in time, officials blame widespread deforestation for the natural disaster that made so many victims.

“We have no desire to engage in finger-pointing or to assign blame at a time like this. Yet, we have an obligation to find out exactly what has happened,”stated Aquino for the Christian Science Monitor.

The Philippine president thinks it is likely that a lodging ban has been violated and that this action has contributed a great deal to the deadly impact of floods and landslides affecting 13 provinces. His opinion is shared both by experts and local people.

Sean McDonagh, a priest who worked in the area stated that deforestation has definitely magnified the threat, since large surfaces of rainforest have been converted into pineapple plantations.

“The deforestation was literally criminal. If the rainforest in the area had been left intact, even 12 hours of continuous rain would not cause this devastation,”explained McDonagh.

“The rainforest canopy would stop the torrential rain from hitting the ground directly. Trees would also absorb the water. While you might have local floods, you would not have the disaster which happened the other night,” he added .

The recent phenomenon is not the first harmful consequence triggered by irresponsible human intervention.

A similar disaster recorded earlier this year, in February, that killed 40 people made President Aquino anticipate the seriousness of the situation and draw up effective measures.

At that point in time he decided to ban lodging, declaring that widespread deforestation can generate a series of landslides and flooding.

Even under these circumstances, his legal measure wasn't strong enough to prevent the recent disaster, the deadliest recorded in 2011.

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