Damage caused by drought during El Niño reaches ₱6 billion

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The damage caused by the drought during El Niño has reached ₱5.6 billion, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture on May 3. The biggest damage was in the Mimaropa region which reached ₱1.7 billion, Western Visayan (₱1.49 billion ), Cordillera (₱767 million) and Cagayan Valley (562 million).

The Department of Agriculture said damage to rice production is equivalent to ₱3.1 billion, corn up to ₱1.76 billion and high-value crops up to ₱958 million. Most of the damaged rice and corn are about ready for harvesting. Around 104,402 hectares of farms were damaged, affecting 113,585 farmers and fishermen.

Around 131 cities and towns have declared a state of calamity across the country due to El Niño. Of these, 41 are suffering from severe drought. Apart from damages to agriculture, it also affected the potable water supply of the residents.

Meteorologists say El Niño will last another month before it transitions to “neutral conditions” or may turn into La Niña, the other side of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. La Niña is characterized by an unusually cold ocean, which brings stronger winds towards Asia.

This results in severe downpours and flooding across much of the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Cold fronts over the ocean also bring severe storms. Like El Niño, the La Niña phenomenon can also last for nine to 12 months. Even now, there are already fears about its effect on the next crop cycle in the Philippines.

AB: Damage caused by drought during El Niño reaches ₱6 billion