Quezon City among world cities at risk for extreme flooding, drought: study

·3 min read
A resident wades along a flooded street caused by monsoon rains and Tropical Storm Hentry (international name Son-Tinh) in Quezon City, Metro Manila, in Philippines July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A resident wades along a flooded street caused by monsoon rains and Tropical Storm Hentry (international name Son-Tinh) in Quezon City, Metro Manila, in Philippines July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Metro Manila’s Quezon City, along with other megacities in the world, will be exposed to severe flooding and drought in the next three decades should world nations fail to prevent the worsening climate crisis, according to a study.

In a report by C40 Cities, a network of megacities committed to addressing climate change, 7.4 million people in the world’s largest cities will be affected while people in developing countries are 10 times more likely to be exposed to river and coastal flooding.

“Flooding is a complex threat that cities are navigating. Cities will have to protect their critical infrastructure from the damage stormwater flooding can wreak,” the report titled “Water Safe Cities” said.

Water Safe Cities is part of a global research effort to forecast the effects of climate change as countries across the world race to limit global warming to 1.5˚Celsius and head off potential catastrophes.

Quezon City is a member of the global C40 network.

Flooding and drought

The study found that C40 cities will experience combined flood volumes of 10.5 million cubic meters annually, exposing 7.4 million people living in at-risk areas.

“The annual cost of urban flood damage will treble to US$64 billion each year, resulting in a US$136 billion fall in overall GDP. These figures are equivalent to the annual GDP of Croatia and Kuwait, respectively,” it added.

Flooding already costs Quezon City at least $54 per capita per year. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the cost will rise to $200 per capita per year by 2050.

Currently, nearly 87,000 people (2.93%) of Quezon City’s residents are exposed to flooding each year. If the situation holds, this will increase by 37 percent or nearly 120,000 people by 2050.

Meanwhile, drought will bring C40 cities a total of more than 16.1 billion cubic meters a year in surface water losses.

Quezon City was listed among the cities facing a medium risk of surface water losses.

“It will cost C40 cities a combined US$111 billion each year to replace the water lost from subsurface levels during drought,” the report said.

Impact on healthcare

The report said that by 2050, more than 2,400 hospitals and healthcare facilities in C40cities could be overwhelmed by flooding.

The possibility will pose serious risks to the public with the Philippines’ already debilitating healthcare system.

It suggested that cities incorporate climate risk into urban planning like limiting the construction of hospitals in high-risk areas.

Social injustices

In a statement, C40 Cities chair and London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the climate emergency “exacerbates social and racial injustices.”

“The effects of the climate crisis don’t impact citizens equally – we know that it’s the most vulnerable – particularly those in the Global South – that face the worst consequences of climate change,” Khan said.

“Poverty, deprivation and health inequalities will also reduce people’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from flooding incidents,” he added.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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