MANILA, Sept.5, 2013 - ‘Lesson not learned,’ wrote Candy Dizon in her blog, at the height of typhoon Maring (international name: Trami) in August 2013. The businesswoman lamented how the combination of bad urban planning and uncollected trash caused the flooding in many parts of Metro Manila and halted progress from monsoon rains enhanced by the typhoon.
Stranded and trapped inside homes for four days as heavy rains battered the metro, citizens deplored the severe flooding which paralyzed the capital Manila and inundated the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Rizal and Pampanga. Filipinos filled social media sites with images of submerged cars on major highways, shared videos of people and parts of shacks being swept away by rampaging flood waters on a swollen river.
Days later when the typhoon had passed, a resident of Marikina city posted exasperatedly on Facebook how “flood waters on the major thoroughfares outside our residential area still have not subsided.”
Joop Stoutjesdijk, Lead Irrigation Engineer at the World Bank, observes that at present the city just cannot cope with flooding from events like Maring, and that urban flooding is an increasing challenge to development. Manila lies in the catch basin between Laguna Lake in the southeast and Manila Bay in the north. Indiscriminate commercial and residential developments have blocked the path of many rivers in Metro Manila, home to some 12 million individuals and still growing.
The state weather bureau said Trami dumped more than a month’s worth of rain (almost 24 inches ) in just 24 hours in the Manila Bay area. It has to be noted that such events would cause flooding in even the best prepared cities.
Leading the development of a 25-year Metro Manila Flood Management Master plan, Stoutjesdijk said that while the Bank has engaged in flood management for a long time in many cities around the world, the plan is one of the first ones that has looked at flood management in a very integrated manner.
The development of the master plan was funded by a US1.5 million grant from the World Bank-administered Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) Trust Fund. The grant was provided by the GFDRR using funds earmarked for the Philippines by the Government of Australia through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). GFDRR is a partnership of 32 countries and 6 international organizations committed to help developing countries reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and adapt to climate change.