MANILA - The Philippines will have to endure the adverse and worsening effects of the El Niño phenomenon until the end of May, disaster officials said Wednesday.
In a press briefing, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad said 41 provinces will be classified as under a dry spell by the end of this month.
A dry spell is defined by 3 consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or 2 consecutive months of way-below-normal rainfall.
By the end of April, considered the peak of El Niño, 42 provinces will be placed under a dry spell, while 22 other provinces will experience drought.
By the end of May, 33 provinces will suffer from drought.
Conditions are expected to improve with the coming of the rainy season in June, when only 20 provinces are expected to remain under drought.
But there is no significant improvement in terms of rainfall. Only 6 to 9 tropical cyclones are expected to develop in the Philippine area of responsibility in the forecast period.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), meanwhile, reported a P464.3 million production loss, or a Volume Loss of 22.9 metric tons as of March 8.
Crops affected are mostly rice (81 percent) and corn (19 percent).
Some 13,679 hectares of agricultural land has been affected, translating to the suffering of 16,034 farmers in MIMAROPA, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Soccsksargen, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Agricultural lands that are irrigated by dams are safe, while the non-irrigated lands will be supported by cloud-seeding operations conducted by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
The DA said it has released P18.3 million to the PAF, who will commence cloudseeding ion the Cauayan, Isabela area by the weekend.
Each cloud-seeding mission costs around P2 million.
The NDRRMC said areas in Regions Cagayan Valley, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Soccsksargen will be considered for cloudseeding.