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Philippines Plans Backup Capital to Prepare for Disasters

  • Former U.S. military base Clark City to be alternative capital
  • Government plans $3.6 billion railway to connect Manila-Clark
Commercial and residential buildings stand illuminated at night in the Makati district of Manila, the Philippines, on Nov. 18.
Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
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As insurance against some natural disaster crippling the government in Manila, the Philippines is building an alternate capital. Its chosen site is an air base that was damaged 24 years ago by one of the biggest volcanic explosions of the 20th century.

It’s not like there were many good options: the Southeast Asian country is one of the worst affected by storms, volcanoes and other natural disasters. Just this week, Philippine authorities evacuated more than 700,000 people as Typhoon Melor made its landfall Monday. Schools were shut in the greater Manila area and nearby cities Wednesday as a storm led to major traffic jams with floods across the capital.