‘Agaton’s’ agriculture damage climbs to P3B
MANILA, Philippines — Two weeks after Tropical Depression “Agaton” (international name: Megi) hit land in the country, farmers and fisherfolk continued to reel from the storm’s damage, which the Department of Agriculture (DA) said had reached P3 billion.
In a bulletin released on Friday, the DA said 67,586 farmers and fisherfolk were affected by the relatively weak and slow storm that developed in the Philippine Sea on April 8, but wreaked havoc on several regions.
Losses were also recorded in the regions of Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Soccsksargen and Caraga.
“The increase in overall damage and losses is due to additional reports on rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and agricultural infrastructures in Western and Eastern Visayas, Davao and Caraga,” the bulletin said.
32,039 hectares affected
Agaton’s destruction resulted in the production loss of 88,997 metric tons covering 32,039 hectares of agricultural areas.
Rice and fisheries sectors were mostly affected by the weather disturbance with losses totaling P1.3 billion and P930.5 million, respectively. Irrigation and agri-facilities incurred P390.2 million in losses.
“These values are subject to validation,” the DA said.
The agency has allotted P723.07 million of readily available funds in various assistance to the affected farmers and fishers, including the P500 million in quick-response fund for the rehabilitation of affected areas.
Affected agricultural producers may also tap P100 million worth of funding under the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council for Western Visayas.
147 still missing
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. is prepared to indemnify covered farmers, but the DA did not say how many there were.
The DA has also prepared P87.76 million worth of rice seeds, P24.33 million worth of corn seeds and P10.85 million worth of assorted vegetables, as well as P130,000 worth of animal stocks, drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry from Caraga.
The number of deaths caused by the storm was 224 as of Thursday morning, but many more are missing.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 202 of the reported deaths were from Eastern Visayas, 17 from Western Visayas, three from the Davao region, and two from Central Visayas.
Meanwhile, 147 individuals remain missing while eight others were reported injured after Agaton whipped parts of the Visayas and Mindanao and triggered floods and massive landslides.
Agaton has displaced 599,956 families, or 2,081,011 individuals, in 2,421 barangays, the NDRRMC added.
A total of 109,518 survivors are still sheltered in 447 evacuation centers.
The Department of Public Works and Highways, meanwhile, reported that damage to infrastructure has reached P1.45 billion.