I'm sharing today this picture and some paragraphs from the article by Nate Berg, it's very important to know the consequences of informal urban sprawl, it's not just a matter of urban morphology. And let us not forget what happened with the settlement of hillside houses in Haiti's earthquake.
Unchecked development and rapidly growing informal settlements in metropolitan Manila have exacerbated the devastation of the recent flooding in the Philippines, according to a UN official.
Speaking with The Philippine Star, Margareta Wahlström, chief of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, notes that the growing numbers of people living on unsuitable land in Manila put them directly in the path of the massive but not unexpected flooding that happens during the summer monsoon season. "As the urban sprawl of rapid urbanization expands outwards and upwards, it provides ready opportunities for hazards such as floods, storms and earthquakes to wreak havoc," Wahlström said. "Urban floods will represent the lion's share of total flood impact because of infrastructure, institutions and processes that are not yet up to the task ahead." This report from CNN says that 60 people have died, 3,100 homes have been damaged, and more than 2.4 million people in 144 municipalities have been impacted by the heavy rains falling over the past five days.
The UN says that millions of slum dwellers were among those in metro Manila forced to evacuate their homes, though no clear numbers are available. Floodplains and vulnerable lands are commonly used as informal settlements. It's unclear how many slum dwellers currently live in metro Manila, but this 2003 report from UN-Habitat estimated the population at 2.5 million. That's about 20 percent of the metro area's roughly 12 million people – a figure that has more than doubled [PDF] since 1980.
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