Just as natural hazards underlie the political structure and economic system of the modern nation state, so the social order in the Philippines also reflects the impact of climatic and meteorological factors. In particular, alternating drought and flood affect crop production and livestock fertility, disrupt fisheries, cause raging forest fires and devastating mudslides. People are also more vulnerable to disease, as a consequence of damage to shelter, interruption of food and water supplies, and the proliferation of virus-bearing vectors. Moreover, the delicate balance of ecosystems can be disturbed through sharp variations in temperature and rainfall or through increased erosion of already vulnerable soils stripped of their ground cover by excessive forest clearance. Even energy sources can be interrupted as low water levels restrict hydroelectric generation, upsetting industry and domestic consumers alike. More often than not such events are referred to as ‘abnormal’ weather conditions (UNEP 1992: 17), a term born from an attitude that considers such episodes as freak occurrences that upset the normal condition or rhythm of life.