Metro heats up; El Niño inflicts P5-billion crop losses

The temperature in Metro Manila could soar to 38 degrees Celsius this month because of El Niño, which has caused P5 billion in agricultural damage, the weather bureau said Wednesday. 

Metro heats up; El Niño inflicts  P5-billion crop losses
WATER CONSERVATION. Environment and agriculture authorities are advising farmers in Benguet, the vegetable basket north of Manila, to conserve water as the dry spell raised by the El Niño phenomenon sweeps much of the country—with a Benguet farmer, by her lonesome under the blazing sun, runs to the rescue of seedlings in her terraced land.
Dave Leprozo Jr. 
But the agency’s Ana Liza Solis said the figure was an “instantaneous value” and not an average temperature for the month, and that the region could experience that temperature at least once this April.

Amid the onslaught of El Niño, the Agriculture department said Wednesday it was assisting some 138,000 farmers grappling with the lack of rain. 

El Niño had caused some P5 billion in agricultural losses in about 149,000 hectares of farmland, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. 

He said the worst-hit areas included Cagayan Valley, Bicol, Northern Mindanao and Occidental Mindoro. 

The state-run Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. had released almost P100 million in insurance payment to farmers, Piñol told DZMM radio. 

A lawmaker on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of emergency in the areas affected by El Niño to speed up the release of relief funds to those areas.

Rep. Ron Salo said residents in the affected areas needed immediate help to tide them over and help them plant crops that are not easily affected by the extended dry season.

“Now would also be a good time to tap the $500-million disaster relief fund of the World Bank that the Department of Finance said is available when needed. We need that now,” Salo said.

National Grid Corporation placed the Luzon grid on yellow alert for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, reflecting the low power reserves even as the Energy department expects no power shortfall in the next two months.

The company placed the Luzon grid on yellow alert from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. as the power plants with a total capacity of 1,646 megawatts remained offline.

The highest temperature expected in Metro Manila this week is 33 degrees Celsius, according to the weather bureau’s website.

Last month the temperature in Metro Manila peaked at 36.2 degrees Celsius, but a higher temperature of 39 degrees Celsius is expected this month in Tuguegarao. 

Solis urged the public to avoid going outdoors between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., limit alcohol consumption that increases urine production, use sunscreen, reduce food intake and avoid protein-rich food. 

People should also be on the lookout for signs of heat stress, which could lead to heat strokes including rapid heartbeat, cramps, vomiting, and dizziness. 

READ: Water department mulled amid El Niño onset

READ: Monsoon rain likely despite El Niño, says weather bureau

READ: El Niño deals blow to rice, corn crops

Topics: Ana Liza Solis , El Niño , Department of Agriculture , Emmanuel Piñol
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