As rains from the latest typhoon “Gener” (international name: Saola) hit Manila, waves rising out of Manila Bay left much of iconic Roxas Boulevard flooded, including the United States Embassy which was forced to close Wednesday, the 1st of August 2012. By then the death toll had already reportedly risen to 14 and more than 150,000 forced from their homes as vast shantytowns across the city were inundated.
Just less than two weeks ago, the 21st July, Manila had already been “turned into a water-world” after heavy rains pounded the metropolis for hours.
Flooding in Manila seems to be occurring more frequently nowadays — and becoming more consistently severe. The degree to which the last couple of days’ rains which led to school interruptions and impacted workers’ productivity will damage the already fragile social and economic fabric of the Philippines will be the subject of much conjecture. But the real question is, will this sort of thing be increasingly the norm?
Manila was, in fact, cited in a 2009 report featured in TreeHugger.com as being one of the big Asian “mega-cities” that will likely be the worst-affected by climate change.
Manila is the third-worst Asian mega-city in terms of climate change, scoring similarly to Jakarta overall. But in terms of exposure to sea level rise, flooding, storms, Manila is the worst in the lot. Socio-economic sensitivity is moderate for the cities surveyed, but threats are still high — the same can be said of adaptive capacity, which is similar to Jakarta.
The report notably compares Manila to Jakarta which was cited as “slightly better than Dhaka” whose adaptive capacity to stress related to floods brought about by rising sea levels was described in the report as “very little” owing to “very low incomes and development levels”.
Sea level rise may, indeed, be already happening and, according to “new research” may be “unstoppable”. Manila’s coastline will, to put it mildly, look a lot different if current trends hold…
If you own property in Quezon City, hang on to it! If you are squatting there, start arming yourselves!