El Niño causes P1.49-billion damage in Western Visayas

The dry season exacerbated by the  El Niño phenomenon has triggered the Blue Alert status in Western Visayas effective April 23. (Francis Allan L. Angelo photo)

By Mariela Angella Oladive

Iloilo province has incurred the largest agricultural losses in Western Visayas due to the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, with damages exceeding P857 million.

The figure represents over half of the region’s total agricultural damages, which amount to P1.49 billion.

Antique, Capiz, and Negros Occidental also experienced significant losses, tallying P210.8 million, P203.49 million, and P117.48 million, respectively.

Guimaras and Aklan reported P69.26 million and P36 million in damages, marking the lowest figures among the six provinces.

Raul Fernandez, Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Western Visayas director, expressed optimism that the losses will stabilize as the region transitions away from the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

“We are now transitioning to ENSO normal, so hopefully, we will no longer have additional losses,” Fernandez stated in an interview.

ENSO is a climatic pattern in the Pacific Ocean known for causing extreme weather events.

Early interventions by the Department of Agriculture (DA) have mitigated some of the damage, affecting only 10.8 percent of the 30,288 hectares of cultivated land.

The crisis has impacted approximately 291,931 families, totaling around 1.1 million individuals, who face loss of livelihood and water scarcity.

Cloud seeding was considered as a potential remedy; however, atmospheric conditions have not been conducive for this technique. Consultations with the DA are ongoing.

In response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has distributed P57.28 million worth of food packs and essentials to affected families as local authorities continue to develop strategies to support those impacted by the El Niño phenomenon. (With reports from PNA)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here