LGUs in Region 12 urged to heighten preparations for El Nino

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 September) — The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of Region 12 advised local government units in the area to step up their preparations for the foreseen onslaught starting next month of a strong El Nino phenomenon.

Minda Morante, RDRRMC-12 chair, issued the advisory as she warned that some parts of the region could suffer heavily when the “mature and strong El Niño” would intensify later this year and until early 2016.

Citing latest forecasts issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), she said the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani are among the 21 provinces in the country that might be hit by the El Nino.

North Cotabato was not included in the list but parts of the area have already been experiencing below normal rainfall levels in the past several weeks.

Morante, who is also the regional director of the Office of Civil Defense, said the Pagasa forecast showed that the El Niño “will likely strengthen further before the end of the year and  may last until  the  first  half of  2016” based on consensus climate models.

“This 2015-2016 El Niño will potentially be among the top four strongest events since 1950,” she noted.

Based on rainfall data released by Pagasa to the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 12, the municipalities of Antipas and Makilala in North Cotabato already posted “way below normal” levels late last month.

Tupi town in South Cotabato registered below normal level while this city and nearby Koronadal City were at near normal levels.

Kiamba town in Sarangani and the neighboring areas experienced “way above normal” rainfall.

It said such data were based on actual figures generated by the automated weather stations and automated rain gauges installed in the area.

Based on Pagasa’s forecast, the rainfall level in the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato will drop to below normal and in Sarangani to way below normal by the end of the month.

Such conditions are expected to continue until January and further intensify by February next year.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said Monday the provinces of Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato will experience dry spell this month that will intensify to drought from October to February.

She said North Cotabato will experience dry condition starting this month until January and dry spell by February.

Dry spell was described as three consecutive months of below normal or 21 to 60 percent reduction from average rainfall conditions or two consecutive months of way below normal or more than 60 percent reduction from average rainfall conditions.

Drought was defined as consecutive months of way below normal or more than 60 percent reduction from average or five consecutive months of below normal or 21 to 60 percent reduction from average rainfall condition. (MindaNews)

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