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Friday, April 19, 2024

OCD: 50 more provinces to experience drought

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But no need to place PH under calamity state yet

The Office of Civil Defense said it is not yet recommending placing the entire country under a state of calamity even as more than 50 provinces are expected to experience severe drought in the coming month due to the El Niño phenomenon.

“Our biggest challenge is that it is only March, and based on PAGASA’s forecast, things will worsen in April. As of now, at least 20 provinces are experiencing drought or severe dry spell,” OCD Administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said during his visit yesterday to Oriental Mindoro.

The town of Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro declared a state of calamity due to El Niño last Monday.

“Come April, more than 50 more provinces will experience severe dry spell. And we only have 82 provinces —so that means almost the entire country will be hit,” Nepomuceno added.

The OCD chief, however, said he will not recommend to the President placing the entire country under a state of calamity due to drought.

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“The situation varies per province,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture said the government will provide credit and insurance assistance to farmers and fisherfolk affected by the dry spell.

“The government is allotting P500 million for credit assistance. This is P25,000 per affected farmer and fisherman. And then for the insurance claims, about P1.8 billion was allotted at a maximum of P20,000 to be distributed,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development also earmarked more than P1.4 billion to fund projects geared toward easing the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, including the Local Adaptation to Water Access (Project Lawa) and Breaking Insufficiency through Nutritious Harvest for the Impoverished (Project BINHI).

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Thursday said the damage to agriculture due to the impact of the El Niño phenomenon rose to P941 million.

Western Visayas reported the highest value of agricultural damage with P564 million followed by Mimaropa with P319.75 million, Ilocos with P54.45 million, Calabarzon with P2.75 million, and Zamoanga with P717,527.

A total of 16,709 farmers and fisherfolks as well as 14,854 hectares of crops were affected, NDRRMC data showed.

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