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 ADB warns Asia’s coastal megacities, including Manila, of massive flooding

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PostSubject: ADB warns Asia’s coastal megacities, including Manila, of massive flooding   Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:16 am

[b]The Asian Development Bank (ADB) warned Asia’s coastal megacities, including Manila, of more massive flooding incidents that could affect millions of people should current climate change trends continue.

In a report titled "Climate Risks and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Megacities," the ADB said the cost of major flooding on infrastructure and the economy could run into billions of dollars, with urban poor populations likely to be the hardest hit.

Apart from Manila, the other Asian megacities identified in the report were Bangkok in Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

The report, released Friday in Bangkok is the product of a two-year collaborative study by the ADB, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the World Bank.

The ADB said the three megacities should find effective ways to address climate change issues such as rising sea levels and extreme weather changes.

Centers of GDP growth

The three cities have inhabitants of close to or over 10 million. They are centers of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, contributing significantly to the economic growth of their respective countries.

“While commendable measures to counteract flooding have already been taken by these cities, much more needs to be done," the ADB said in a statement.

The ADB pointed out that sound urban environmental management is crucial.

“Land subsidence due to groundwater pumping, dumping of solid waste into city canals and waterways, clogged drainage systems, and deforestation in the upper watershed all contribute to urban flooding," the statement said.

The report said the governments of the three cities should address climate risks as an integral part of urban planning.

The measures include “developing strategic urban adaptation frameworks for managing climate risks, strengthening institutional capacity for adaptation, and implementing measures such as land use planning and zoning to help reduce urban vulnerability."

Damage equivalent to 25% of GDP

The report states that in the worst-case scenario, a major flood in Metro Manila could cause damage equivalent to almost a quarter of its GDP.

The report urged the Philippine government to redesign and improve continuously Metro Manila's flood control infrastructure.

Bangkok, on the other hand, needs to control groundwater pumping, improve flood forecasting and information, raise dikes, and invest in pump station capacity, the ADB said.

Meanwhile, the ADB said in Ho Chi Minh City, 26 percent of the population is affected by extreme storm events but the number could climb to more than 60 percent by 2050.

The ADB said the Vietnam government has expressed interest in a climate change adaptation plan for the city.

“Infrastructure-based approaches can also be usefully combined with ecosystems-based approaches such as management of mangroves and rehabilitation of urban wetlands," the ADB pointed out.

GMA News TV
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