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Asian cities urged to bolster defence against rising seas

Kamis, 27 Februari 2020 / 10:11 WIB
Asian cities urged to bolster defence against rising seas
ILUSTRASI. Petir menyambar di kawasan kampung nelayan Pabean udik, Indramayu, Jawa Barat, Kamis (22/2). Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika memperkirakan puncak musim hujan berlangsung hingga bulan Maret dan menghimbau masyarakat akan terjadinya hujan lebat

Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Yudho Winarto

KONTAN.CO.ID - KUALA LUMPUR. Major Asian cities, including Tokyo, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai, are most at risk from rising sea levels, researchers warned on Thursday, urging authorities to invest more in flood defences and plan to relocate assets and people.

A study by UK-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft analysed 500 cities worldwide with more than 1 million residents and identified places likely to experience sea level rise of 67 cm-2 metres (26.4-78.7 inches) by 2100, in line with scientific estimates if global warming increases at its current pace.

It found that 11 of the 15 highest risk cities are in Asia, with Dubai, Alexandria and New York also featuring.

"As a species we tend to like to live by coasts - with all the resources and transport it provides," said Rory Clisby, a climate change analyst at Verisk Maplecroft in Singapore.

In Asia, cities with high population densities "tend to develop land that other parts of the world might leave", he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Many of Asia's rapidly expanding cities are coastal and low-lying, making them vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme weather such as flooding and cyclones.

This week, torrential rains flooded Jakarta for the second time in 2020, while Bangkok last month trucked in drinking water after the encroaching ocean increased salinity.

To lower flood risks, countries should combine "hard and soft engineering options", such as building sea walls and tidal barriers and restoring mangroves, said Clisby.

Sea defences would need to be reinforced every decade or so, he added, noting "it's not a one-off expense".