State of calamity in 18 El Niño areas

NDRRMC: Losses hit P2.6billion; cloud seeding pushed

Preliminary damage wrought by El Niño, which placed 18 areas nationwide under a state of calamity,  has hit P2.675 billion, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

State of calamity in 18 El Niño areas
SOMEWHERE, DOWN THERE. Cousins Archie Baran and Angel Bataanon patiently search for root crops from a parched sweet potato farm in Barangay Kapatagan in Carcar, Cebu on Tuesday—among the many areas in the country that has been whipped by dry spell from the weather phenomenon El Niño. Norman Cruz
In the Council’s latest ledger released Wednesday, Region 12 suffered the most damage with an estimated cost of P808 million followed by Region 5 with P793.9 million.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Region 8, MIMAROPA, Region 6 and the CALABARZON also suffered great loss due to El Niño, although specific figures were not immediately available.

In related developments:

• The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System mulls over conducting cloud seeding over Angat Dam as El Niño whips Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

Engineer Patrick Dizon of the MWSS on Wednesday said the office had written the Bureau of Soils and Water Management and the government-run weather bureau for cloud seeding activities over the dam.

During the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum, Dizon recalled that cloud seeding operations to increase the Angat Dam’s water level during 2015’s El Niño cost around P3 million.

Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification that aims to induce precipitation by dispersing substances into the air. 

Dizon said PAGASA, which would assess which clouds were seedable, recommended the series of operations to be done in May when little rainfall was expected.

•The Cordillera Administrative Region has recorded total damage of P1.2 billion worth of agricultural products as the municipality of Paracelis in Mountain Province declared a state of calamity due to El Niño.

“As of today, the estimated damage in the agricultural sector is at P1.2 billion, but it is still subject for validation,” Department of Agriculture senior agriculturist Lito Mocati told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday.

Most of the damage had been inflicted on high-value crops like corn, rice, and vegetables.

• In North Cotabato, four hectares of fishponds have dried up due to El Niño which left thus far an estimated P2.2 billion in damage to agricultural crops.

Based on NDRRMC records, 16 provinces, towns and cities have already declared a state of calamity due to the dry spell since Feb. 11, with Datu Abdullah Sangki in Mindanao the latest to do so on March 13.

In Santo Niño town in South Cotabato, four hectares of fish farms have dried up since the National Irrigation Administration cut the water supply to the town due to scarcity.

Fish farmers said the town’s fish production would surely suffer delay. Particularly affected, they said, was the production of tilapia, News To Go, beamed nationwide, reported Wednesday.

In Mountain Province, Mocati said that damage recorded for corn was more than P900 million; P380 million for rice; and more than P10 million for highland vegetables.

He said the provinces of Ifugao, Apayao, and Abra had submitted their reports for their agricultural damage loss.

Mocati said they were currently coordinating with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management for the schedule of cloud seeding in the region.

Meanwhile, the municipal government of Paracelis in Mountain Province has declared the town under a state of calamity due to the extent of damage that the drought has caused.

“The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council recommended the declaration of the entire municipality of Paracelis under a state of calamity due to dry spell,” Councilor Djarma Rafael told PNA on Wednesday.

The resolution said that crops were already wilting due to the prevailing dry spell and has caused widespread damage in the agricultural sector.

“Not only with our agricultural products but also the prevailing dry spell has caused outbreak in our poultry, livestock, and fishponds representing 70 percent in total damages in the agricultural sector of the municipality,” she said.

She said the resolution for the declaration was approved during the regular session on March 26, which Mayor Avelino Amangyen also signed on the same day.

Paracelis, a second-class municipality, relies heavily on agriculture with the majority of its products being corn. 

READ: El Niño destroys Mindoro farms

READ: El Niño: Too big a problem​

READ: Angat water level fast going down, PAGASA warns​

Topics: El Niño , state of calamity , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council , Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System
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