MANILA, PHILIPPINES - International experts on flood management, Philippine government officials, donors, and civil society organizations gathered at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a two-day forum on flood risk reduction in an effort to identify ways of strengthening disaster risk management, while improving the country's prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from floods.
"Planning for a disaster is one of the best ways of preventing loss of life and livelihood, so we are very pleased to cohost this knowledge-sharing event in ADB's host country," said Stephen Groff, ADB's Vice President of Operations for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, who delivered opening remarks.
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson delivered the keynote address. Presentations and panel discussions involved the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Office of Civil Defence, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and the Lake Laguna Development Authority.
There were also presentations from local government, as well as the private sector, on the climate and flood risks in the Philippines and measure being taken to reduce the hazards, exposure and vulnerability to floods.
Participants also heard about floods from experts from Australia, Japan and the United States, as well as measures to avoid future floods. Development partners supporting the Philippines also outlined ongoing support to the country.
Flood projections for Asian coastal megacities, conducted by the ADB, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and World Bank in 2010, show metro Manila is particularly vulnerable. Cost estimates suggest heavy flooding could cost up to $1.5 billion unless action is taken. Worse, additional costs associated with climate could be approximately $0.65 billion, or 6% of Gross Regional Domestic Product.
Flooding from tropical storm Ondoy in September 2009, for example, was the heaviest in almost 40 years, with flood waters reaching nearly seven meters. More than 80% of Metro Manila was submerged, causing serious damage to housing and infrastructure and displacing around 280,000-300,000 people.