A tale of three cities: water disaster policy responses in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Metro Manila

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Floods and typhoons are two of the greatest water disasters affecting South East Asia, causing misery and death to people, damaging properties, infrastructure and crops, and causing disruption to commerce and industry. In many cases the impact can be widespread, affecting not only individual households but also large parts of a country including agriculture areas, towns and cities, and sometimes even beyond national borders. The rapid pace of development has resulted in a disproportionate increase in runoff and a many-fold increase in river discharges leading to more frequent and more intense flooding. This situation is expected to be further aggravated due to the impact of global warming and climate change. To cope with such challenges, countries in South East Asia are developing their policy responses tailored to suit their local conditions and environment. This paper looks at the water disaster situation and the policy responses in three cities in South East Asia: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Metro Manila, the capital cities of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Federation of Malaysia and the Republic of the Philippines, respectively. Although all three countries are in the same climatic zone, due to their geographical locations, water disasters impact differently on them and the remedial measures also differ.

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