Published: Thursday 30 November 1995

Future shock could be near at hand for the inhabitants of the Asia and Pacific region. At a seminar on'Mega-cities management in Asia and the Pacific' held on October 24 at Manila, experts maintained that the lack of basic services for hundreds of millions of Asians in large cities were symptomatic of a major urban nightmare in the making. The only solution to halt this alarming trend in its tracks, they pointed out, was channelising huge investments. The World Bank seems to share this view. In a report released in September in Bangkok, the Bank estimated Asia's general infrastructure financing needs, including those for urban planning, at US $1.5 trillion in the coming decade.

From the looks of it, things are likely to get worse before they get any better. According to experts at the recent seminar, Asia will have 13 of the world's 21 mega-cities - defined as those with more than 10million people - by the turn of the century.

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