MANILA, Philippines – Damage caused by tropical storm “Auring” (international name: Dujuan) to the country’s agricultural sector has reached $ 216.66 million, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture (DA).
Auring, the first tropical cyclone to hit the country this year, hit parts of the Caraga region of Mindanau and destroyed 1,756 hectares of rice, corn and high-value crops, as well as livestock and fisheries.
The state prosecutor said he could issue advice to farmers before Auring landed, resulting in an early harvest of 12,538 hectares of rice worth 1.31 billion P1. As for maize, a total of 6,296 metric tons was saved, estimated at P94.42 million.
The state prosecutor prepared 75,256 bags of rice seeds, 1,735 bags of corn seeds and 17,381 kilograms of vegetable seeds for distribution to storm-affected farmers.
He has also prepared loan programs for farmers and fishermen displaced by natural disasters, adding that Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. had sufficient funds to compensate the affected farmers.
In Surigao del Sur, Governor Alexander Pimentel enlisted the help of President Duterte in repairing roads connecting remote rural villages with the city centers of the province. Roads in about 200 villages were damaged, he said.
Auring also affected 34,770 families from 18 of the 19 provincial cities. Nearly 10,000 families have fled their homes seeking safety from flood waters.
A report by the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management on February 24 showed that the inner city of San Miguel had the most evacuated 6,277 families (20,872 people) or about half of the local population.
According to Pimentel, most of the rural roads damaged by Auring’s rage were also hit by heavy rains following the tropical depression “Vicky” (international name Krovanh) in December last year and were in rehabilitation.
He said additional equipment from the Department of Public Works and Highways is needed to speed up road repairs.
Bishop Raul Dael of the diocese of Tandag blamed the environment for widespread flooding.
“This is the first time that this has happened to the city of Tandag, and at the same time to other parts of Surigao del Sur. I would like to make this clear, especially this time that we have all experienced a flood like this, to remind people to take care of the environment because the environment is a gift from God, ”Dael said.
“We should not do intergenerational injustice by abusing nature to the point that the next generation will have nothing left because we have already destroyed it,” he added. – REPORTS BY CARL R. OCAMPO, ERWIN MASCARIÑAS AND RYAN ROSAURO
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