Zamboanga City, 12 towns in North Cotabato under state of calamity due to dry spell

Robie de Guzman   •   March 6, 2019   •   2613

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The City Council on Tuesday, March 5, approved a resolution placing Zamboanga City under a state of calamity due to a dry spell caused by a weak El Niño phenomenon.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s Good Morning Kuya program by Dante Amento, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) Chief Dr. Elmeir Apolinario said the resolution was based on their recommendation after drought affected crops, irrigation for rice fields and water supply in the city.

“We are now under state of calamity by reason of, isa ‘yung advisory ng DOST-PAGASA na weak El Niño and of course, yung facts naman on the ground na there is a water resources problem sa City of Zamboanga. And of course, sa agriculture sector and other sector,” Apolinario said.

The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) has recently implemented water rationing operations after its daily production declined by 50 percent, from 158 million liters to 80 million liters.

The local agriculturist office, meanwhile, reported that a total of 600 hectares of rice fields have been hit by the dry spell.

With the state of calamity declaration, government agencies can now use the calamity fund to implement mitigating measures, such as cloud seeding operations and leasing of tanks for water distribution, and to procure alternative crops and drilling rigs for affected sectors.

The Zamboanga CDRRMO said P13 million has been allotted for cloud seeding operations while the City Agriculturist office has P20 million to aid drought-affected farmers.

“We are looking at ways forward on how to help our water district in terms of distribution ng tubig, in terms of finding other sources, in terms of having ‘yung mga drilling rigs. Mayroon tayong mga alternative crops, mga vegetables na pwedeng ipamigay sa mga farmers,” Apolinario said.

Meanwhile, 12 towns in North Cotabato have also been placed under state of calamity due to the prevailing heat.

According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), the affected towns are Carmen, Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Matalam, M’lang, Alamada, Tulunan, Kabacan, Libungan and Pigcawayan.

Local disaster officials have already recommended to the provincial board level the inducement of artificial rain through cloud seeding as well as the procurement of water pumps and other assistance to farmers to save their remaining crops. – Robie de Guzman

Orangutans in rehabilitation suffer from smoke caused by Indonesia forest fires

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019

Dozens of orangutans are suffering from respiratory problems caused by the smoke from forest fires in Indonesia this week.

Indonesia and neighboring countries in Southeast Asia are regularly hit by smoky haze from slash-and-burn clearances of forests for timber and palm oil plantations, but conditions this year have been the worst since 2015 due to an El Nino weather pattern causing an extended dry spell.

The orangutans in Central Kalimantan were previously trafficked and were taken by authorities there to be rehabilitated before being introduced back into the wild.

Caretakers detected respiratory tract infections in some of them and have started moving them into cages in facilities with cleaner air to be monitored.

Veterinarians there said the Pongo pygmaeus, a native species of orangutans to the island of Borneo, are vulnerable to changing conditions, especially the young.

The air pollution index in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on Borneo, has been at a “dangerous” level for days.

Schools in Palangka Raya and another city in Central Kalimantan, Sampit, have been closed this week.

Fires have ripped through more than 328,000 hectares of forests and peatlands in Indonesia since January, causing a choking haze to envelop some cities in Borneo and the island of Sumatra, according to the country’s disaster mitigation agency. (REUTERS)

Several barangays in Zamboanga city submerged in floodwater due to ‘Marilyn’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 13, 2019

Several barangays in Zamboanga City are submerged in flood due to the heavy rains brought by tropical depression ‘Marilyn’ this week.

There is also no electricity in several areas due to broken power lines.

Classes have been suspended in all levels while the Philippine Coast Guard (PSG) already cancelled sea travel for the safety of the passengers.

Meanwhile, various rescue units in Zamboanga City continue to conduct their rescue operations to aid residents affected by the severe flooding. Affected barangays include, Barangay Putik, San Jose Gusu, and Santa Maria.

The local government continues to advise residents in the low-lying areas to immediately evacuate to avoid the effects of the flood.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

PAGASA declares end of El Niño

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – State weather service PAGASA has declared the end of weak El Niño which has started in the last quarter of 2018.

This means that the temperature in the Pacific Ocean has returned to normal and will remain so until the end of 2019.

During the past three to five months, areas of Oriental Mindoro and Sultan Kudarat experienced less rainfall.

But this August, PAGASA expects normal rainfall level in areas of Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Metro Manila, most parts of Eastern Visayas, and the provinces of Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, Bataan, Aurora, Agusan Del Norte, and Surigao Del Norte.

The El Niño has incurred P7.963-B worth of damage in agriculture across the country, according to data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in JUNE 27, 2019.

This is apart from other problems such as the water crisis that hit Metro Manila when the level of water reserve in Angat Dam dipped below the minimum operating level of 180 meters.

For now, the dam’s supply is gradually recovering as it hit 177.12 meters at 6:00 a.m. today (August 16).

With this development, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) may soon increase water allocation in Metro Manila to 40 cubic meters per second from the current 36 cubic meters per second, according to the agency’s Executive Director Sevillo David. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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