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El Niño expected to affect up to 80 provinces – task force

MANILA: Task Force El Niño on Wednesday warned that about 80 provinces may experience the adverse effects of the weather phenomenon, sparing only two provinces in the country.

This is as the number of provinces currently affected by El Niño has already increased to 51 from the previous 41, as of Feb. 25, Task Force El Niño spokesperson, Communications Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama, said during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon Program aired on state-run PTV-4.

‘Tataas pa iyan to 73 and then aabot ng 80 bago bumaba ulit sa 50 plus. So, sinabi natin na ang (It will rise to 73 and then reach 80 before dropping back to 50 plus. So, we said that the) effects ng (of) strong and mature El Niño ay magpe-persist (will persist) until May to June, so tingnan natin kung ano po ‘yung puwede pang gawin (let’s see what else can be done),’ Villarama said.

‘Pero sa ngayon po ay sapat po ang paghahanda ng mga ahensiya upang ma-avert at maabatan po iyong posibleng magiging epekto sa water resources, sa food supply, pati na ri
n po sa enerhiya at saka sa kalusugan (But for now, the agencies are prepared to avert and anticipate the possible impact on water resources, food supply, as well as energy and health).’

Metro Manila and 24 provinces may experience drought by the end of March, based on the government’s forecast.

The provinces are Abra, Apayo, Aurora, Bataan, Benguet, Cagayan, Cavite, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Kalinga, La Union, Mountain Province, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Pangasinan, Quirino, Rizal, and Zambales.

A total of 27 provinces are projected to be under a dry spell, while 21 provinces may experience dry conditions.

Dry spell may be felt in Antique, Batangas, Biliran, Bohol, Bulacan, Camiguin, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Iloilo, Laguna, Lanao del Norte, Leyte, Masbate, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Oriental Mindoro, Samar, Siquijor, Southern Leyte, Sulu, Tarlac, Tawi-tawi, Zamboanga de Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, an
d Zamboanga Sibugay.

Dry conditions are expected in Aklan, Albay, Basilan, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Dinagat Islands, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Marinduque, North Cotabato, Northern Samar, Pampanga, Quezon, Romblon, Sarangani, Sorsogon, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Villarama also noted that about 6,600 hectares of agricultural land have been damaged because of El Niño.

He, however, said the damage to agriculture would be minimal, considering that the National Irrigation Administration has projected El Niño to affect about 275,000 hectares of agricultural land.