Western Visayas

El Niño wreaks havoc in Western Visayas, losses hit P800 million

Erwin Delilan

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El Niño wreaks havoc in Western Visayas, losses hit P800 million
A report by Western Visayas' Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council shows that as many as 19,000 farmers and 14.528 hectares of rice and corn fields have been damaged due to the dry weather in the region

BACOLOD, Philippines – The El Niño phenomenon has wreaked havoc on rice and corn crops in Western Visayas, causing losses of nearly P800 million, according to a report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in the region.

As many as 19,000 farmers and some 14,528.25 hectares of rice and corn fields have been adversely affected by the heat and lack of rainfall, according to the RDRRMC report on Monday, March 18.

The report showed that three out of the six provinces in Western Visayas have suffered heavy losses due to the prolonged dry weather conditions. These provinces include Iloilo with damages reaching P519.19 million, Antique with P139.7 million, and Negros Occidental with P87.4 million in losses.

Aklan reported damages to agriculture amounting to P30.1 million, while Capiz incurred losses of P2.9 million. Guimaras province has yet to submit a damage assessment.

But despite the urgent need for relief, cloud seeding operations in the region are seen to be unfeasible, said Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Monday.

Lacson cited a report from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region VI, which advised against cloud seeding at this time because it could potentially damage mango plantations in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, and nearby Guimaras province.

The DA in Western Visayas has yet to explain the technical aspects and the potential damage that cloud seedings can do. 

A research study on www.earth.org, however, showed the possibilities of contamination and environmental pollution resulting from the mishandling of silver iodide and other chemicals used in cloud seeding. Such pollution, it said, could have far-reaching consequences on natural ecosystems and pose tangible risks to human health.

Meanwhile, the impact of the dry spell continues to worsen in 11 cities and towns in southern Negros. These include Kabankalan, Himamaylan, Sipalay, and several other areas.

In Himamaylan City, nine villages are already grappling with water shortages due to the dry spell. 

Joefil Sombilon, head of the Himamaylan City Disaster Risk Reduction Office (HCDRRMO), identified the affected barangays as San Antonio, Carabalan, Cabadiangan, Mahalang, To-oy, Nabali-an, Su-ay, Cabanbanan, and Libacao. 

The HCDRRMO has sought the help of the provincial government as the number of affected residents in these barangays has reached 15,000. – Rappler.com

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