Unusual cold to be felt until February

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Friday, January 24, 2014


THE unusually cold weather has damaged P2.4 million worth of crops and livestock in six mountain barangays in Balamban, Cebu.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the cold weather will continue until next month.

Alvin Santillana of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO) assured, though, that the cold weather did not damage about 350 hectares of crops.

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Santillana said only portions of 15 barangays had damaged crops. He added that the report of City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon did not mean that all farms in 15 barangays—with a combined land area of about 350 hectares—have been damaged by the unusual weather.

Relief

Meanwhile, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) will deliver relief assistance to Balamban residents who were affected by a landslide in Gaas and to the Arias family, whose house in a mountain barangay in Tuburan was destroyed by a rockfall last Jan. 17.

As of yesterday, the Balamban Municipal Agriculturist Office recorded 48 dead animals or 35 cows, two carabaos, two horses and nine goats.

Balamban Municipal Agriculturist Felogyn “Boy” Sundo said vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato, chili, Baguio beans, sayote (vegetable pear), onions and bitter gourd, were damaged by the cold.

He said affected barangays are Gaas, Sunog, Cabasiangan, Nangka, Hingatmonan and Cansomoroy.

Sundo advised owners of farm animals to give their livestock proper shelter.

“Atong buhatan og payag aron makapasilong mintras nagsige og uwan (Farmers should build a hut so their animals have shelter during the rain),” he said, adding that a hut with walls is a better option.

The animals should be made to stay inside the shelter and must be given food and vitamins.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he is waiting for the assessment and recommendations of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Monsoon

He said the Capitol can help the farmers by giving them vegetable seeds for planting and animals.

Pagasa weather specialist Alice Canasa said the northeast monsoon or “amihan,” which brings cold air from the north, will continue to affect the country until the second week of February.

Canasa said residents in upland barangays will experience colder temperature.

“Temperature increases with height,” she said. She added that the temperature in the mountain barangays in Cebu City is 3.5 degrees lower than in the lowlands.

The Pagasa Mactan, Cebu Station recorded the coldest temperature in Cebu of 21.8 degrees Celsius at 2 a.m. last Jan. 20.

“There's a chance the temperature will even go lower,” Canasa said, adding that January is normally the coldest month of the year.

No typhoon

Canasa said no low pressure area or other weather disturbances is affecting the country as of yesterday.

She said Cebu will experience sunny weather with isolated rain showers in the coming days.

Santillana said farm animals may have died because their owners do not have barns. Besides, he said, the Philippine cattle is not used to the cold.

CCDRRMO executive director Simeon Romarate is in the mountain barangays to conduct a three-day disaster analysis and needs assessment.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is not convinced that declaring 17 barangays under a state of calamity is an appropriate recourse.

Preparedness

“We need a state of preparedness (instead),” Rama said, adding that there is no calamity in the first place.

Councilors Dave Tumulak, Phillip Zafra and Alvin Arcilla proposed a resolution declaring a state of calamity in the mountain barangays.

Rama said the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) sent personnel to the mountain barangays to check the death of the animals.

Mayor Rama said the unusual weather can also be exploited by constructing mountain resorts.

PSWDO Chief Evelyn Senajon, on the other hand, said four large tents will be put up in Gaas, Balamban to house families that had to be evacuated because of the risk of landslides.

Food

Food packs and water will also be distributed to the residents who will be transferred to the barangay sports complex, which is safer than the school that was used as initial evacuation site.

In Gaas earlier, 60 families or 259 individuals had to be evacuated when a landslide occurred in Sitio Proper.

Classes in the Gaas elementary and national high schools remain suspended to ensure the safety of the schoolchildren.

Davide said he hopes the Department of Education would find an alternative site to hold classes.

Senajon said the mother of the three Arias children who died during a rockfall in Barangay San Juan, Tuburan will be made to undergo stress debriefing.

A boulder fell on the Arias home, killing 14-year-old Jose Jr. and three-year-old Jonabel. Their five-year-old brother Jundel died later at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

Once the Capitol has obtained the necessary documents and information on the incident, Senajon said the family will get P5,000 as financial assistance for each victim or a total of P15,000.

She said Capitol is also planning to give assistance for wake of the Arias children.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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