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Drought impact on Pinoys varies

Despite experiencing drought in the past, Filipinos show varying levels of concern about drought, according to Harvard Humanitarian Initiative DisasterNet Philippines’ recent study.

Drought impact on Pinoys varies

HHI’s study, conducted in 2017 with 4,368 adult respondents, is the first nationwide household survey on disaster preparedness in the Philippines.

The report says at the national average, only 12 percent of Filipinos reported feeling extremely concerned, 24 percent were concerned while 21 percent were somewhat concerned, 16 percent were a little concerned and 26 percent were not at all concerned about being affected by drought.

In the regions where the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has identified provinces that are already experiencing less rainfall in the last five months associated with the weak El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, less than half of each region’s population expressed any concern about being affected by drought.

In the Zamboanga Peninsula, where Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay have been experiencing drought since February this year, only 25 percent were concerned about drought before the disaster. Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay and Pagadian City have already been placed under a state of calamity.

READ: El Niño destroys P464-million rice, corn

In Northern Mindanao, where the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental have already lost at least P292 million in agriculture this year due to the effects of El Niño, as reported by the Department of Agriculture, 57 percent had been concerned about drought before the disaster hit. 

In the Ilocos Region, where drought has been present in Ilocos Norte since last month, and a dry spell is likely in Ilocos Sur and La Union, 41 percent were concerned.

In the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where Sulu and Maguindanao are threatened by drought, 39 percent thought they would likely be affected by drought.

In Mimaropa, where drought is also expected in Palawan, Occidental Mindoro, and Oriental Mindoro, 47 percent were concerned.

The lowest level of concern was reported in the National Capital Region with only 11 percent while the highest was in Soccsksargen with 67 percent.

Davao, the region with the second highest level of concern (63 percent), had experienced drought in 2016. Palawan, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao and Sulu were also hit by drought in the same year, while Occidental Mindoro had experienced a dry spell, according to a Pagasa data.

In terms of preparedness, a mere 2.4 percent of the country’s population reported having a plan for drought.

Pagasa predicts this year’s weak El Niño will last from March to May. Rainfall is expected to become normal from June to August.

Fewer Filipinos, 4.3 percent, think that the delayed onset of the rainy season is a consequence of climate change. However, a significant part of the population, 42 percent, said the impacts of climate change posed a high level of threat to them and 83 percent said they had experienced the effects of climate change.

READ: Manicad: Time to take radical steps to solve El Niño

READ: El Niño threatens 42 provinces; La Mesa at 21-year low

Topics: Harvard Humanitarian Initiative ,  DisasterNet Philippines , Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration , El Niño
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