Zambo placed under state of calamity as dry spell worsens

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 2 April) – The City Council, in an emergency session Wednesday, passed a resolution declaring this city under a state of calamity, citing the adverse effects of the continuing dry spell to the agriculture sector.

Incorporated in the same resolution is authorizing the release of funds for mitigating measures.

The City Council convened in an emergency session after the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) recommended the declaration of a state of calamity in view of the escalating damage to agriculture and fishery products.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat reported that a total of 8,924 hectares of assorted crops with an estimated value of P132.54 million have been damaged as of Monday.

He said that more than 1,300 hectares of the total 8,924 hectares damaged are with no chance of recovery.

Palacat said the affected areas were planted with rice, corn, assorted vegetables, banana, rubber, cassava and coconuts.

Of the 25 irrigation dams in the city, Palacat also reported that 9 have dried up, 6 are in critical condition while 10 are below the normal water level.

Engr. Arnulfo Alfonso, technical services department head of the Zamboanga City Water District, reported the water level at the ZCWD’s diversion dam has reached the critical level of 73.9 meters as of Monday.

The City Council has immediately forwarded a copy of the resolution to the office of Mayor Ma. Isabelle Cliamco-Salazar for appropriate action.

Copies were furnished to Palacat’s office, CDRRMC, City Treasurer, City Auditor, City Accountant and City Budget Officer.

The declaration of the state of calamity will hasten the conduct of cloud seeding operations, said to be the foremost mitigating measure strongly endorsed by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management Team that came over last week to assess the situation.

The cloud seeding operations, based on the initial proposal, will require a funding of P3 million as counterpart from the Department of Agriculture, P700,000 from the ZCWD and P300,000 from the city government.

As a form of weather modification, cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice, or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols, through the use of an airplane into the upper part of the clouds to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.