The local government of Zamboanga del Norte declared a state of calamity on Monday after the province’s damage to crops affected by the El Niño phenomenon reached P162,401,155.
A total of 5,642 hectares of farmlands were affected in 10 municipalities including Sergio Osmeña, Sibutad, Piñan, Labason, Gutalac, Godod, Sindagan, Manukan, Kalawit and Rizal.
Some 5,778 farmers have been suffering due to drought, according to the Department of Agriculture. Damage to rice crops reached P92,892,655 while damage to corn reached P69,508.500 in Zamboanga del Norte.
Provinces which have also been placed under a state of calamity in the past several months include Iloilo, Davao del Sur, Cotabato, Maguindanao, Basilan, Isabela, Quirino, Bukidnon, and most recently, Puerto Princesa City.
According to the recent observations of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), prevailing temperatures in most parts of the country are above average with high relative humidity.
The highest recorded temperature this year was 39.6 degrees celsius at Echague, Isabela on April 14, 2016, surpassing highest temperature last year at 39.2 degrees celsius in Tuguegarao.
Based on Pagasa’s climatological record, the hottest temperature in Metro Manila was recorded on May 14, 1987 at 38.5 degrees celsius, while the hottest temperature ever recorded in the entire country was in Tuguegarao, Cagayan at 42.2 degrees celsius on May 11, 1969.
The state weather bureau also reported that the highest heat index of 53.5 degrees celsius in the country this year was registered in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija on April 14, 2016.
PAGASA has advised the public and all concerned agencies to take precautionary measures to prevent the escalation of health hazards associated with the on-going El Niño, like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat strokes.