44 provinces vulnerable to El Niño

from May 8, 2014 04:00 pm to May 8, 2014 04:00 pm

By Anna Leah G. Estrada | May. 08, 2014 at 12:01am


FORTY-FOUR provinces and two cities will be the most vulnerable to El Niño once it hits in June, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.


Undersecretary Emerson Palad said those areas include Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.


The other areas expected to be hit hard are are Cavite, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga City, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani and South Cotabato.


The moderately vulnerable areas are Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Romblon, Sorsogon, Aklan, Antique,  Bohol, Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, del Sur and Sibugay, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental and Davao City.


On May 6, Australia issued an El Niño alert on expectations the weather-altering pattern will probably develop in July, potentially bringing drought across the Asia-Pacific region and heavier-than-usual rain to South America.


El Niños can roil agricultural markets worldwide as farmers contend with drought or too much rain.


Still, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said his department was prepared to deal with El Niño, which is expected to hit its peak by the end of the year. Drought also hit the Philippines in 2009 up to 2010.


“As early as last month, the department has been implementing cloud-seeding operations to induce rain in the major watersheds and farming communities in Cagayan Valley that did not receive rainfall for at least a week,” Alcala said.


“And with a protracted dry spell now an increasing possibility, the department will intensify its cloud-seeding operations to save crops and other produce from damage.”


Alcala said his department had also allotted P8.4 million for the repair of the irrigation system in Pisan village in Kagacan, North Cotabato.


Alcala made his statement even as the temperature in Metro Manila soared to 36.2 degrees Celsius at 3 pm on Wednesday, just a little shy of the 36.4 degrees Celsius recorded on May 1.


The weather bureau said Wednesday it expected hotter days ahead.


Hydrologist Edgar de la Cruz said three of the four major dams in Luzon still had enough water despite the extreme heat and lack of rainfall.


He said Magat Dam in Isabela, San Roque Dam in Pangasinan, and Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija will not hit their critical levels, and that only the water level in Angat Dam remains low.  With Rio N. Araja, Jenniffer B. Austria, Maricel V. Cruz and PNA


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