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Philippine floods spur move to high-rises: industry

Tropical storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rains in more than four decades on Manila on September 26, leaving more than 80 percent of the city flooded. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Nov 17, 2009
High-rise living has suddenly become more popular in Manila after killer storms caused massive flooding in the Philippine capital, property industry officials said here Tuesday.

Businesses are also moving to higher ground to avoid a repeat of the devastation from recent storms, which killed more than 1,100 people in Manila and other parts of the island of Luzon, the officials told a business forum.

"More Filipinos will embrace high-rise living. They still prefer single-detached homes, but now they are more open to high-rises," Robinsons Land Corporation vice president Henry Yap told the forum.

After the storms "we had a barrage of calls (from people) wanting to rent out our high-rise units."

Tropical storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rains in more than four decades on Manila on September 26, leaving more than 80 percent of the city flooded.

This was compounded a week later by Typhoon Parma, which caused most damage further north on Luzon but also brought more rains to Manila.

Nearly two months after Ketsana, hundreds of thousands of people are still living in flooded areas on the outskirts of Manila.

"Some people were traumatised (by the floods) and don't want to go home," said Corazon Guidote, head of SM Investments Corporation, a holding company with real estate interests.

"You can already see a migration to certain areas. People are going to areas which are of higher elevation. Rental rates in some areas have gone up because of the migration. There will be more demand for high-rises."

However Guidote did not give specifics.

Other companies said they were also reviewing their plans for disaster preparedness in the wake of the floods.

"We are putting some of our treatment plants on stilts," said Frank Beaumont, group director of Manila Water Company, the capital's main water distributor.

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