SIX more local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental are planning to declare a state of calamity in their respective areas after damage to crops due to the dry spell have reached P27 million as of Thursday.

Provincial Agriculture Officer Igmedio Tabianan said crop damage in Hinobaan town has already reach P4,776,915; Sipalay City - P576,885; Kabankalan City -P162,000; Isabela - P420,000; La Castellana - P144,000; and Don Salvador Benedicto.

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Other areas hit by the dry spell are Himamaylan City - P176,555.60; Cauayan-P836,520; Ilog-P10,080; Hinigaran - P3,163,580; Calatrava - P4.5 million; Binalbagan - P345,000; Bacolod City - P226,800; San Carlos City - P7,847,625 and Toboso - P1,986,600.

The province has been declared highly vulnerable to El Nino while 20 other provinces had been identified to receive below normal rainfall in the last three to four consecutive months this year.

Other provinces that were also declared as highly vulnerable to the dry spell were Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Cavite, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Capiz, Iloilo, Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga City, Sarangani and South Cotabato.

According to Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), El Nino continues to sustain its moderate strength and is recently in its mature stage. Gradual decrease in sea surface temperature is expected but still within the El Nino threshold and likely to last up to June 2010. Overall assessment of rainfall for the month of January was below to way below normal in most areas of Luzon and Western Visayas.

Negros Occidental was also noted as among the areas that are still under dry spell condition. Other areas include Benguet, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Batangas, Iloilo, Antique and Guimaras. Some areas of Capiz province continue to experience the drought condition, Pag-asa said.

Meanwhile, newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Bernardo Fondevilla will arrive in Negros Occidental on Friday to personally assess the effect of the El Nino phenomenon in the province.

Fondevilla will also attend the Provincial Livestock and Poultry Assembly to be attended by more than 700 poultry raisers in the province.

Dr. Renante Decena, provincial veterinarian, said a seminar on new technologies will be presented by the Department of Agriculture.

Fondevilla will meet with Gov. Isidro Zayco who will brief him of the current situation in the province pertaining to the effect of the El Nino Phenomenon.

As of Thursday, Decena reported that damage to the livestock and poultry industry of the province due to the dry spell was pegged at P3 million.

Decena said that too much heat kills the animals from 21 towns and cities in the province.

Decena said that they are asking from the DA for additional budget for the animal vaccination to avoid further damage and mitigate the effects of the dry spell.