Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Poor planning blamed for Philippines flooding

Houses destroyed by flooding after Typhoon Ketsana passed through Marikina City, east of the Philippines capital Manila. [ABC]


(Post by CAAI News Media)

Philippine officials are blaming poor urban planning for the extreme flooding caused by two recent typhoons that killed nearly 300 people.

President Gloria Arroyo's spokesman, Cerge Remonde says lapses in urban planning saw housing estates and shantytowns spring up near reservoirs and lakes.

He says widespread devastation by Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma shows the urgency of re-planning Metro Manila.

Mr Remonde says problems that need solving include insufficient drainage, clogged waterways, uncontrolled housing development, and the proliferation of slums along riverbanks.

Ketsana dumped a month's worth of rain over Manila within a few hours on September 26, triggering the country's heaviest flooding in 40 years.

Flood water has been slow to recede in the capital.

Parma, hit Luzon eight days later, boosting the stagnant flood waters and ruining vast areas of rice fields.
Relief effort

Meanwhile, the American military says hundreds of its troops are involved in the flood relief effort in the Philippines.

Officials say marines and sailors posted in the Manila area have been helping to clear roads, deliver supplies and provide basic medical care.

Gwendoline Pang, of the Philippine Red Cross, says continuing bad weather is hampering progress.

"In the evacuation centres, it's so congested, and they've been there for more than a week already, almost two weeks. Also the clean-up effort is becoming very challenging, because before we can clean up the area, another typhoon is coming again," said Ms Pang.
Cambodia death toll

The death toll in Cambodia is at least 17 after Typhoon Ketsana swept through the country.

But the National Committee for Disaster Management believes that number is likely to increase still further.

Ketsana caused widespread flooding in Cambodia, destroying homes and crops, and displacing thousands of families.

It passed through after earlier battering Vietnam and the Philippines, where hundreds of people died.

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