Monday, January 27, 2014

Replace Tacloban? Government mulls rebuilding new urban hub

Natashya Gutierrez in the Rappler: As the government begins the long and tedious task of rebuilding areas hardest hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), it is looking to focus on first rebuilding the economic hub. In the past, that was Tacloban. But now, the government is not so sure, said Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.

"We are actually coordinating closely with [the private sector] to prioritize Tacloban or if we really have no plans to rebuild Tacloban, let’s look for another place that can be a hub of business activity like Palo [in Leyte]," Lacson said on Monday, January 27.

"Because maybe the path of future calamities really crosses Tacloban. So that's being studied too. That's why there's a forum of experts looking at the movement of storms. Maybe Tacloban isn't tenable anymore to be rebuilt in the manner it was before Yolanda," he said. (READ: Climate change threatens economy of 4 cities)

Tacloban's location on the country's eastern seaboard exposes it to many climate risks, like tropical cyclones during the southwest monsoon. From a range of 1 to 10 – with 10 being most vulnerable – Tacloban was rated 6.74 in terms of how exposed it is to climate change impacts, like stronger storms, extreme droughts, sea level rise, and aggravated flooding and landslides, based on a study.

The study, conducted by Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines and BPI Foundation, gave this score based on 3 factors: climate or environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity, and capacity to adapt. (READ: Tacloban: In the jaws of a 'climate sandwich')

Lacson said experts are also discussing whether the Tacloban airport, which was completely destroyed by Yolanda, should be transferred as well....

Tacloban's airport, pre-Haiyan, shot by mtoz, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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