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El Niño hits upland brgys in Cebu Province

| by: Lianne Llesol

Almost all upland barangays in the towns and cities visited by the Cebu provincial rapid assessment teams (CPRAT) have been severely affected by El Niño phenomenon.

Initial assessment of Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) revealed this after sending out teams to check the extent of El Niño’s damage in various Cebu towns and cities.

CPRAT teams are composed of representatives from PDRRMO, Provincial Agriculture Office, Provincial Veterinary Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Health Office and other frontline offices of the Capitol.

PDRRMO chief Baltazar Tribunalo reported general weakening of water sources in the Province especially springs and wells.

Upland barangays experienced severe agricultural damage such as zero germination of crops, stunted growth, wilting, and non-harvesting of crops.

“Farmers who are dependent on rain, springs and wells were not able to harvest from any of their crops,” said Tribunalo.

However, he added that those who have their own irrigation mechanisms for their farms were able to harvest their crops.

He further reported that most irrigation systems have significantly weakened as well.

“Some LGUs and barangays have improvised and used the pipes and hoses we gave out last year to get water from nearby springs and wells that haven’t dried up yet,” said Tribunalo.

“Water-related tourist spots remain operational. However, resort owners have aired out experiencing effects of dry spell in their businesses,” he continued.

Results of the rapid assessment would help the Province identify the needs of affected communities and the appropriate assistance that must be given.

Tribunalo said all relief assistance for El Niño affected communities purchased last year had been distributed already.

However, he assured that there would be no problems in purchasing supplies for El Niño relief assistance this year.

“We can make repeat orders from our suppliers last year. Procurement process for this usually takes up one to two weeks but we can always fast track it,” said Tribunalo.

He shared that supplies given out last year such as hoses, jerry cans, water tanks and others are still being used by the farmers until today.