El Niño damage reaches P46 million
May B. Miasco, Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - April 21, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The El Niño-induced damage and loss to Cebu's agri-products, livestock, and fisheries has already reached P45.8 million, according to the recent data from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

Rhee Telen Jr. of the PDRRMO said that based from the monetary values reported from the different local government units (LGU), the agriculture offices reported a total damage of P14 million from its crops, vegetation and plantations.

The province's livestock also lost P836,200, where some of the swine and cattle (goats and carabao) have reportedly died while others have become skinny.

Telen said the damage and loss to fisheries, marine aquaculture has bloated to P30 million. Part of it was the huge damage the El Niño has caused to the seaweed farms in Bantayan Island.

He also noticed that many reported about cases of "forced selling" where farmers either have to sell their livestock that could hardly endure the intense heat or have to cook the animals themselves.

He explained that aside from these, some municipal and city officers only indicated on the standard form the number of affected people or damage in hectares that is yet hard to quantify.

The PDRRMO data consolidation was as of April 10.  Only 42 LGUs have relayed their individual reports so far.

Telen said the challenge lies on the timely submission of reports by the LGUs, while some LGUs reportedly miss in filling in the other important details on the form.

He added that the PDRRMO can only provide assistance or prioritize those LGUs that have specified the details on their damage assessment reports.

He also said that the Capitol has already started dispensing food packs or water containers to a number of towns and barangays in the province.

As of April 10, at least 11 LGUs have declared a state of calamity or adopted the Capitol's March 25 declaration.  These include Ginatilan, Minglanilla, Samboan, Sogod, Tudela, Dumanjug, Alcoy, and Santander, and the cities of Carcar City, Toledo, and Talisay.

The provincial government has since placed Cebu under a state of calamity due to the adverse effects the weak El Niño has caused to the agricultural products, livestock, fisheries production and water supply here.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District's Mobile Siphon Tank is now fully operational with a production capacity of 1,200 cubic meters per day.

Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara, in a press statement, said that this capacity can also serve 1,200 families of five individuals per family.

Kara said that this tank was used during the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in Bantayan and in Cebu City's mountain barangays.

This equipment, Kara said, is capable of treating any surface water into potable water.

Kara said that the tank was deployed in Buot River earlier this month to answer the water needs of residents in the upland barangays whose water sources were affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

It has been serving residents in Barangays Taptap, Adlaon, Babag, Sirao, Malubog and Pung-ol in Cebu City.

"Barangay tankers and private individuals with containers may get water for free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily," read the statement.

Kara, however, emphasized that since these tankers and containers are not of food grade standards, consumers of the water from this facility are advised not to drink it. — GAN (FREEMAN)

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