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HCM City mulls climate-change threat

Update: July, 13/2010 - 10:26

HCM City is one of the most at risk cities in Southeast Asia that will likely be affected by climate change and an increase in sea levels. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc

HCM City is one of the most at risk cities in Southeast Asia that will likely be affected by climate change and an increase in sea levels. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc

HCM CITY — HCM City needs to improve its urban planning capabilities to deal with the threats posed by climate change, the chairman of its People's Committee, Le Hoang Quan, has said.

He was speaking at the "Urban planning development responses to climate change: adaptation and mitigation" roundtable forum jointly organised by the Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development (PRCUD) and the People's Committee, which opened in the city yesterday.

The PRCUD chairman, Tom Zearley, said: "We are very pleased that in our 21-year history this is the first time a city has invited us to come and discuss urban planning. I believe that with our experienced experts, discussions will help the city's urban planning process against climate change."

The council's senior advisor, Cor Dijkgraaf, said HCM City and some other Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok and Jakarta are the most vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels.

"You will see temperatures rise, long periods of sunny weather in the dry season, and more rains during the rainy season. Daily life will be seriously affected."

He called on HCM City to do more research and strengthen international co-operation, especially with neighbouring mega-cities.

Nguyen Trung Tin, vice chairman of the People's Committee, said: "We realise that HCM City will suffer a lot from climate change."

While around 154 of the city's communes constantly suffer from flooding now, he feared that the number would increase to 171 communes, or 61 per cent of the city's area, by 2030.

"We have done many things to cope with it," he assured, however.

On Sunday the delegates went on a field trip to two townships: the new Hiep Phuoc – Nha Be Port urban area and District 6.

The roundtable will focus on planning for these areas and overall planning for the city.

HCM City, which has an area of 2,095sq.km of which half lies just 0.5 – 1m above sea level, is home to more than 7 million residents and is the country's biggest economic hub.

The conference, which will last until tomorrow, has attracted 25 foreign urban planning and climate change experts and authorities from several southern provinces. — VNS

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