'Juan' damage to agriculture reaches P1.6-B, says DA

By Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2010 02:56 PM | Updated as of Oct 21 2010 09:22 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The damage caused by typhoon Juan (international codename Megi) to agriculture now amounts to P1.6 billion, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Wednesday, citing latest estimates.

Bulk of the damage was on rice crops, Alcala said, with around 70,000 hectares of rice fields devastated. Around 12,450 hectares of corn were also affected.

Alcala said the crops were supposed to replace the losses in production this year due to El Niño.

They are hoping, however, that since the weather is already improving, farmers will still be able to salvage up to 40% of the damaged crops.

Meanwhile, two warehouses of the National Food Authority in Tumaini and Roxas, Isabela were also damaged. Around 10,000 bags of rice and 9,368 bags of palay worth P13.67 million were lost.

Alcala admitted the losses will have an impact on overall supply but he assured it will be very minimal. He said the losses registered in northern Luzon comprise only about 1% of the total rice production this year.

Next year, the government will still have to import rice, but in smaller volumes, Alcala noted.

The DA chief believes it will take farmers in Isabela and other affected areas up to a week to recover.

He said it is important for them to start planting as soon as they can in order to minimize the impact on next year's supply.

The DA is still expecting 51,000 metric tons of rice to arrive by January or February.

39K families affected in 6 regions

Meanwhile, the latest update from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council indicated that the number of affected population already swelled to 39,847 families or 215,037 individuals, across Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, CAR and NCR.

Eleven people were killed and 16 others were injured during the onslaught of typhoon Juan.

TOTAL DEAD: 11
BREAKDOWN:
4 - Pangasinan
1 - Cagayan
1 - Nueva Ecija
1 - Tarlac
1 - Zambales
1 - Kalinga
1 - Benguet
1 - Baguio City


TOTAL INJURED: 16
BREAKDOWN:
1 - Pangasinan
2 - La Union
7 - Cagayan
3 - Kalinga
3 - Benguet

Damaged houses have climbed to 4,910, of which 518 were totally damaged.

A total of 25 schools worth P3.87 million were also destroyed.

Clearing operations are now ongoing after Department of Public Works and Highways-CAR reported around 41 landslide incidents.

Fifteen road sections in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mt. Province and Ifugao are still closed due to toppled trees and electrical posts, while 6 road sections are also closed in Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Cagayan, isabela and Aurora due to landslides.