News / Asia

    Asia Flood Disasters a Warning Signal for City Planners

    Residents use makeshift floats as others cross a makeshift bridge built over a flooded road in suburban Pasig, east of Manila, Philippines, August 15, 2012.Residents use makeshift floats as others cross a makeshift bridge built over a flooded road in suburban Pasig, east of Manila, Philippines, August 15, 2012.
    x
    Residents use makeshift floats as others cross a makeshift bridge built over a flooded road in suburban Pasig, east of Manila, Philippines, August 15, 2012.
    Residents use makeshift floats as others cross a makeshift bridge built over a flooded road in suburban Pasig, east of Manila, Philippines, August 15, 2012.
    Daniel Schearf
    BANGKOK— Recent flooding disasters in Asian capitals are a warning of worse problems to come for city planners.  The Asian Development Bank says rapid urbanization is straining city infrastructure, leading to worse pollution, and putting millions in Asia at risk.  
     
    Heavy monsoon rains this month left a third of the Philippine capital, Manila, under water.
     
    In July, the Chinese capital, Beijing, saw the worst flooding in 60 years.
     
    And last year, the Thai capital, Bangkok, was partly swamped by historic floods that killed over 800 people.
     
    Asian Development Bank chief economist Changyong Rhee says although weather-related tragedies are common in Asia, it is not because of bad luck.
     
    “This kind of natural disaster, especially flooding in Asia, is a result of the combination of growing risk of global warming and climate changes together with rapid and massive urbanization in Asia without proper infrastructure,” says Rhee.
     
    Rhee was speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand for the release of an ADB study titled Green Urbanization in Asia.
     
    The ADB says carbon emissions, believed to be a major cause of climate change, grew five times as fast in Asian cities as the world average and are set to triple by 2050.
     
    Asia’s booming economic growth, while lifting many out of poverty, is leading millions to move to cities for better jobs.
     
    The ADB says Asia is now home to more than half the world’s megacities, those with populations over 10 million, and 60% of global slum dwellers.
     
    In 1950, there were only two megacities in the world, New York and Tokyo, but now there are 23, 12 of them in Asia.
     
    Rhee says city planners are struggling to keep up with needed infrastructure, creating a growing and vulnerable slum population. 
     
    “The bad news is that this vulnerability is more likely to increase with urbanization.  Why? Because with urbanization there will be more people living in urban slums," says Rhee. "They live in a risk area. And, without proper infrastructure, they are subject to this risk.”
     
    The ADB says the Asian population vulnerable to inland flooding is expected to reach 350 million by 2025.
     
    Those vulnerable to coastal flooding will increase to 400 million.
     
    To meet the challenge, the ADB says cities need to focus on alleviating poverty, promoting environmentally friendly planning and technology, and boosting energy efficiency.
     
    Rhee says the most important step is building efficient mass transit systems to reduce dependence on pollution-heavy fossil fuels.
     
    He says the emergence of satellite cities near Asian megacities creates the opportunity to incorporate “green” concepts early on.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora