Philippines invests in flood protection

MANILA - The Philippines is to spend about $629 million this year on projects aimed at boosting its defences against deadly floods, a government agency said Tuesday.

The move follows last month's heavy rains, which submerged large areas of the main island of Luzon including about 80 per cent of Manila, killing at least 99 people and forcing about half a million people to flee their homes.

The National Economic and Development Authority said the total includes 6.87 billion pesos (S$204 million) to build and strengthen dikes, dredge rivers, as well as buy pumps to ensure a flood-free Manila, the sprawling capital city of 15 million people.

"This will... finance immediate high-impact flood control interventions," the agency said in a statement.

The August floods were the worst in the capital since September 2009, when extensive flooding from a tropical storm killed more than 400 people.

The agency added another 19.49 billion pesos would be spent this year to build 199 steel bridges, including 66 in flood and typhoon-hit areas of the country.

The bridge project is partly funded by development aid from Austria, Britain, Germany and Spain, it added.

The agency also approved, among others the upgrading of two provincial airports and Manila's light rail system, for a combined 30.629 billion pesos. The upgrades are not flood related.

Become a fan on Facebook