‘Nona’ rains destroy high-value crops

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THE National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has estimated the initial damage on agriculture and infrastructure inflicted by Typhoon Nona (international name: Melor) on the islands of Luzon and Visayas at more than P320 million.

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The amount is expected to rise when reports from the field are completed, the agency said.

The latest NDRRMC report showed 15,336 families, or 68,100 people in six cities, 137 municipalities in 17 provinces of Regions 4-A, 4-B, 5 and 8, were either displaced or accommodated in evacuation centers.

It gave initial figures for damage in Regions 4-B, 5 and 8 at P94.764 million for infrastructure and P225.26 million for agriculture.

Department of Agriculture
Separately, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said damage on the country’s agriculture sector covering a total of 20,309 hectares of farmlands in Luzon and the Visayas, has so far reached P732.59 million. The agency described the damage as “minimal,” given the number of areas directly hit by Nona.

DA undersecretary for Operations, Agribusiness and Marketing Emerson Palad said losses were recorded in the high value crops, rice, and corn, subsectors, with regions 4A, 4B, 5 and 8 sustaining most of the damage.

Most of the areas affected were in Calabarzon, Mimaropa and the Bicol region – all among the top producers of high-value crops and lowland vegetables.

Widespread flooding was experienced across Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, most parts of Central Luzon, and Metro Manila.

The provinces of Sorsogon and Albay, which were heavily hit by Nona, have been declared under a state of calamity.

Cabanatuan City (Nueva Ecija) Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara on Thursday also put the city under a state of calamity after massive floods triggered by typhoon Nona submerged a large number of barangays.

Of the 64 affected barangays, 29 are still under floodwater up to six feet high, including Kapitan Pepe, Sumacab, San isidro, Mabini Extension, Mabini Homesite, Valdefuente, Aduas Sur, San Juan, D.S. Garcia and Bliss Sta. Arcadia.

Despite being one of the heavily affected areas, Nueva Ecija was not reportedly included in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) relief assistance operation.

A DSWD press statement posted on its website said Bicol was the only province in Luzon that got relief assistance from the department.

DSWD said out of P42.237 million worth of relief assistance it has released as of Wednesday to the local government units (LGUs), Albay received P10.316 million; Camarines Norte P4.965 million; Camarines Sur P10.672 million; Catanduanes P7.04 million; Masbate P1.112 million; and, Sorsogon P4.891 million. Batangas got P541,410 in relief assistance, while Northern Samar was given P2.7 million.

In Orion town in Bataan, fishermen have begun gathering seashells and engaged in construction work to earn a living as big waves triggered by Nona prevented them from going out to the sea.

WITH REPORT FROM ERNIE ESCONDE

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