DAMAGE caused by Typhoon “Nina” to the farm sector has reached over P4 billion, affecting 65,247 hectares in two regions, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Wednesday.
In a report, Christopher Morales, head of the DA’s Field Programs Operational Planning Division, estimated production losses at 268,355 metric tons (MT) of rice, corn and high-value crops. A total of 66,963 farmers were affected in Calabarzon and Bicol regions.
The report said 168,581 MT of palay were lost, amounting to P2.36 billion, while corn posted 24,071 MT of losses worth P312.91 million. Damage to high-value crops amounted to P1.25 million.
Morales said drones were deployed to take photos of agricultural areas damaged by Nina. “This is to picture the magnitude of damage using unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, and to validate damage and losses,” he said.
The National Irrigation Administration reported that irrigation covering 3,540 hectares of land and 3,818 farmers in Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Bicol were affected.
Also, P83.5 million worth of damage to infrastructure (road and river control facilities) were reported in Marinduque and Oriental Mindoro.
In its Wednesday update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 132,908 families or 602,770 persons were affected by the severe weather conditions brought by Nina during its onslaught on December 25 and 26.
These individuals came from 785 barangays (villages) in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas, NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad said.
Strong winds and rains damaged a total of 30,897 houses.
Nine road sections and three bridges were still impassable due to debris and flooding in Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas.
P500M in assistance approved
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the allocation of an initial P500 million for the rehabilitation of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in typhoon-hit areas.
Of the total amount, P300 million will come from the Office of the President and P200 million from the DA.
About P55 million will be used for the immediate rehabilitation of the abaca industry in Catanduanes, the release of rice seeds and fertilizers for about 5,000 hectares of rice land, and repair of fisheries infrastructure.
In Catanduanes on Tuesday, Duterte eschewed the distribution of relief goods to typhoon victims, saying he hated using such occasions for “propaganda.”
“Thank you for your warm welcome. There’s a peculiar government practice that I don’t like. That thing when I was supposed to distribute aid…ceremonial gift-giving. I detest that,” Duterte said.