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Friday, May 31, 2024

DSWD: More than 1.7 million struggling with El Niño

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported Saturday that some 1.7 million individuals have already been affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said these individuals are located in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western and Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

“Based on the continuous monitoring of DSWD through our field offices, we keep an eye on the movement or the development of families and affected persons,” Dumlao, the DSWD Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, told a radio interview, stressing that the number of those affected has gone up slightly.

Despite this, Dumlao said no individuals have so far been evacuated or displaced due to El Niño. She added the DSWD has provided assistance to those affected by the extreme heat by way of food packs and financial aid that already reached P58 million, among others.

“The DSWD has distributed family food packs. This is part of the humanitarian response in areas affected by El Niño, especially for families experiencing food shortage due to severe drought,” Dumlao noted.

Dumlao, meanwhile, said the DSWD has Project Lawa and Project Binhi, which aim to help El Niño-affected communities have access to water and food. Beneficiaries of the projects are provided with temporary income via the cash for training and cash for work components.

“They are assisted in building water cisterns or small farm reservoirs, which are sized 20 x 24 square meters and 50 feet deep, that can be used as water sources for their farms, ” Dumlao said. The Department of Agriculture provides technical expertise,” she said.

Under the pilot program of Project Lawa and Project Binhi, small farm reservoirs were already constructed in Ifugao, Antique, and Davao.

Aside from the family food packs and the aforementioned projects, the DSWD also has the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program for additional support.

As this developed, AnaKalusugan Rep. Ray Reyes encouraged the public to remain vigilant and regularly monitor temperature reports from PAGASA.

Reyes, vice chair of the House committee on health, also urged the public to be alert, especially when experiencing symptoms of diseases related to hot weather.

“Safety is of paramount importance and extreme caution should be taken during these temperature surges,” Reyes said.

PAGASA classifies temperatures ranging from 33 to 41 degrees Celsius as “extreme caution” and temperatures from 42 to 51 degrees Celsius as “danger.”

Reyes said preventive measures are key in avoiding heat-related illnesses.

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