Thursday, September 19, 2019

Agriculture office halts cloud seeding operations

DAVAO. Major aircraft setback forced cloud seeding operations in affected areas in Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte to stop, according to the Department of Agriculture-Disaster Risk Reduction Management. (Roy Jose Pascua)

THE Department of Agriculture (DA)-Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) halted its cloud seeding operations in Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte due to a problem with the aircraft's fuel line.

Due to the intense heat brought by the dry season, DA-Davao resorted to cloud seeding operations as intervention in areas that declared a state of calamity.

"There was a major setback on the aircraft, specifically on its fuel line, so there was an advice to stop the supposed operation. We do not have another aircraft available since there was also a problem on the Nomad aircraft," DA-DRRM focal person Roy Jose Pascua said in vernacular Tuesday, May 21.

"However, if the local government units of the areas declared under state of calamity will request for another cloud seeding operation, we will have to resume by then using a private aircraft," he added.

The aircraft is supposed to perform 20 sorties or rounds until May 20, but they only had eight sorties before the advice to stop.

"The eight sorties conducted are all successful since the region and Region 12 (Soccsksargen) experienced heavy rains after the operation," Pascua said.

The budget of the cloud seeding operation in the region is more than P2 million, each sortie will cost around P130,000 including the salt.

Pascua said the damage of El Niño in Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte continue to increase. As for the figure, their personnel on the ground are still validating the damages caused by the dry season.

"Our communication with affected LGUs is constant since there was a forecast of Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) that weak El Niño will continue until the fourth quarter," he said.


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