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Pagasa advises Agriculture sector to gear up for El Niño

July 10, 2009 3:54pm
MANILA, Philippines - State weather forecasters on Friday advised the Department of Agriculture (DA) to gear up for the expected effects of El Niño in the Philippines.

GMA News’ Ivan Mayrina in his report aired on“24 Oras" said that in case the drought hits the country, it could once again create adverse effects in the Agriculture sector.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, for his part, assured that he would closely coordinate with the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in assessing the impact of El Niño in the country.
Effects of El Niño

Health Effects

• Diseases related to water scarcity or shortage such as diarrhea and skin diseases

• Red Tide Blooms : Paralytic shellfish poisoning

• Disorders associated with high temperatures: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, exertional heat injury and heat stroke

What to do?

• Conserve water and use it wisely.

• Protect water sources from contamination.

• Drink more fluids.

• Listen to the updates on shellfish ban.

• Wear light clothing.

• Avoid strenuous physical activity.

Source: Department of Health (DOH)

Pagasa spokesman Nathaniel Cruz said there would be agricultural benefits if the government could prepare against El Niño before it hits the country.

"Kung mapaghahandaan natin ‘yan pwedeng magpalit ng tanim kung kinakailangan," Cruz said.

The drought is expected to hit the country late 2009 nine to early 2010, the report said.

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by extreme climatic conditions; extreme temperature rise with a little rainfall, and at the opposite extreme, there is unusually heavy rainfall.

Pagasa has recorded three severe droughts caused by the El Niño phenomenon that has stricken the Philippines in the past 30 years. The worst was in 1997, which left an estimated P8.46 billion in damages to agriculture. The two others were in 1982-83 and 1992-93. All three episodes caused some water reservoirs and hydroelectric dams to dry up.[See: The El Niño Phenomenon]

In its weather outlook for July 2009, Pagasa said there are indicators that show the possibility of El Niño occurring in the coming months.

"Statistical and dynamic models indicate a probability of a weak El Niño to develop in the coming months," it said.

The Pagasa spokesman also reminded the public that although the expected El Niño is just “mild," its effect could be aggravated by climate change.

"Sa climate change ang lagi nating sinasabi occurrence of extreme events. Pwedeng matinding tag-tuyot tapos matinding tag-ulan," Cruz said.

He also called on the public to conserve water as early as today. - GMANews.TV
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