CEBU, Philippines — Damage to agriculture in Cebu caused by the El Niño phenomenon continues to soar, according to the latest data released by the Provincial Disaster Risk reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).
Rhee Telen, Jr., local disaster officer, said the damage to crops and livestock has now reached to P110.9 million. The amount is expected to increase in the days to come because several towns have yet to submit their report.
Telen said the figure was only based on the reports they received from 39 local government units. The recent account came from Toledo City and the towns of San Francisco and Poro in Camotes Islands.
Based on the PDRRMO consolidated data, Toledo City declared more than P3-million damage to high-value crops, rice and corn.
San Francisco reported a damage of over P2.7 million from various crops while Poro recorded P317,500 damage of livestock and crops. PDRRMO also counted thousands of families affected by the intense heat and water shortage caused by the weak El Niño
A total of 13,128 families (or 67,057 individuals) are reportedly suffering from the crippling effects of this phenomenon. As of May 10, at least 14 LGUs – towns and cities – have already declared state of calamity following the provincial level declaration.
Last March 25, the entire Cebu province was placed under a state of calamity. Separate declarations were also made by the municipalities of Ginatilan, Minglanilla, Samboan, Sogod, Tudela, Dumanjug, Alcoy, Santander, Carmen, Compostela, and Asturias and the cities of Carcar, Toledo, and Talisay .
Meanwhile, the Capitol has step up its cleanup drive in the affected marine protected areas off Cebu islands, prioritizing the top tourist areas.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, through its Coastal Resource Management Section, earlier recommended for the provincial government to also place Cebu under outbreak of crown of thorns, which is a large starfish that preys upon hard, or stony, coral polyps.
Its spread has gone severe owing to the hot weather and PENRO has projected that there will be a significant decline of corals if the apparent outbreak is not abated. The Capitol, through PDRRMO, has earmarked P2 million used as honorarium for divers, and utilized for the purchase of gears, equipment and other logistical needs.
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The Capitol also rented two mobile water tankers that will be used for about two months and 16 hours per day for the rationing of water at the much needed communities, tapping several water utilities to supply its water.
The weak El Niño, characterized by the unusual warming of the tropical Pacific, has caused intense heat.