Auring agri damage breaches P21 million
MANILA, Philippines — Damage wrought by Tropical Storm Auring (international name: Dujuan) to the country’s agriculture sector has reached P21.56 million, records from the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed.
Auring, the first tropical cyclone to hit the country this year, battered parts of Caraga region in Mindanao and destroyed 1,756 hectares of rice, corn and high-value crops, as well as livestock and fisheries.
The DA said it was able to issue advisories to farmers before Auring made landfall, resulting in the early harvesting of 12,538 ha of rice amounting to P1.31 billion. As for corn, a total of 6,296 metric tons were saved, valued at P94.42 million.
The DA has prepared 75,256 bags of rice seeds, 1,735 bags of corn seeds and 17,381 kilograms of vegetable seeds for distribution to farmers affected by the storm.
It has also readied loan programs for farmers and fishermen displaced by natural disasters, adding that Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. had enough funds to indemnify affected farmers.
In Surigao del Sur, Gov. Alexander Pimentel has sought the help of President Duterte in repairing roads that connect remote rural villages to town centers of the province. Roads in some 200 villages were damaged, he said.
Auring also affected 34,770 families from 18 of the province’s 19 towns. Close to 10,000 families fled their homes to seek safety from floodwaters.
A report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Feb. 24 showed that the interior town of San Miguel had the most evacuees at 6,277 families (20,872 people), or about half the local population.
According to Pimentel, most of the rural roads damaged by Auring’s fury were also hit by heavy rainfall accompanying Tropical Depression “Vicky” (international name Krovanh) in December last year and were undergoing rehabilitation.
He said more equipment from the Department of Public Works and Highways were needed to hasten road repair.
Bishop Raul Dael of the Diocese of Tandag blamed environmental abuse for the widespread flooding.
“This is the first time that this happened to Tandag City and simultaneously to other parts of Surigao del Sur. I would like to make this clear, especially this time that we have all experienced this kind of flooding, to remind the people to protect the environment because the environment is God’s gift,” Dael said.
“We shouldn’t commit intergenerational injustice by abusing nature to the point that nothing will be left for the next generation because we have already destroyed it,” he added. —REPORTS FROM KARL R. OCAMPO, ERWIN MASCARIÑAS AND RYAN ROSAURO
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