TURNING POINT: Extreme Weathers

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 08 August) — In March-April, the farmers in central and northern Luzon complained about the scorching weather that dried up their farmland, leaving no crops alive. Then early in May they sighed with relief when the southwest monsoon season began, giving back life to their parched land. But their joy was fleeting because the southwest monsoon dumped more rain than they needed, drowning slowly their newly planted rice and other crops. Then two typhoons, Egay and Falcon dropped rain bombs that spawned floods and landslides, which wiped out of existence everything in their path, leaving farmers, their families and the nation empty, broken and hungry.

Now a large part of central and northern Luzon, including the national capital region, have remained under flood water. Flood ebbing is not in the offing because the habagat will still be in full force until September. And the typhoon season is just around the corner.

Most of Bulacan and Pampanga will remain underwater indefinitely because the two are low-lying river basin area. Farming is getting impossible and fishing becoming unreliable. 

The harrowing intensity and fickleness of the weather everywhere is aggravated by climate change.

In recent days, China, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have been ravaged by long lasting torrential rains and floods that brought incalculable damage to agriculture and infrastructures.

Meanwhile, long dry spell sparks wild fires in Spain, Greece, Italy, and the western coast of the US. The long dry season spells drought and famine in some African countries, depriving humans and animal of precious potable water. Even Iran reported that its water channels are drying up and its reservoir can now supply only 20 percent of the need of the populace.

Of late, heat wave lasting from two to five days swept over Europe and the US, incurring casualties and hospitalization, particularly of the elderly. Heat waves are actually the deadliest kind of extreme weather event, killing, accordingly, more U.S. residents each year on average than any other weather disaster. 

The blood thickens when the human body becomes overheated, forcing the heart to pump harder and putting it and other organs at risk for damage. Victims often suffer from heat stroke. The deadliest heat wave on record was, reportedly, a 2010 heat wave that killed as many as 56,000 people in Russia.

It is getting difficult to escape from extreme weathers. Just the same, we need to be more vigilant and prepared. 

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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