Future shockcould be near at hand for theinhabitants of the Asia andPacific region. At a seminaron'Mega-cities managementin Asia and the Pacific' heldon October 24 at Manila,experts maintained that thelack of basic services for hundreds of millions of Asians inlarge cities were symptomatic of a major urbannightmare in the making.The only solution to halt thisalarming trend in its tracks,they pointed out, was channelising huge investments.The World Bank seems toshare this view. In a reportreleased in September inBangkok, the Bank estimatedAsia's general infrastructurefinancing needs, includingthose for urban planning, atUS $1.5 trillion in the comingdecade.

From the looks of it,things are likely to get worsebefore they get any better.According to experts at therecent seminar, Asia willhave 13 of the world's 21mega-cities - defined asthose with more than 10million people - by the turn ofthe century.

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