01 Jul Will Philippines have to abandon Manila to climate change?
When Typhoon Ketsana struck Manila in 2009, causing $1.09bn in damage and 747 deaths, it captured headlines and a flurry of emergency aid. But extreme flooding now appears to be the new normal in the Philippines, which was battered by so many storms last year that they exceeded the letters in the alphabet. Climate change and environmental degradation have increased the frequency of flooding along the Marikina and Nagka rivers, with evacuations disrupting daily life in the capital for months of what’s become an annual flood season.
As the peak of the rainy season approaches, The Guardian spoke with Manuel A Abinales, founder and president of Christian Aid partner Buklod Tao, who lives and works in this community, helping to respond quickly when river levels rise. For local residents like Tony Iburan, life has become increasingly difficult and dangerous as the water slowly eats away at the community.
Christian Aid’s 2013 web documentary Big River Rising also explores the impact of flooding and climate change on Manila’s residents with interviews from climate scientists who are working with communities to try to prevent disasters in urban slums.