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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Editorial: Here comes the big one... so far...


DO YOU remember that strongest El Nino feared to be shaping up last year that came in a just a prolonged dry spell? From all indications it appears that the prolonged dry spell is but the portent of the big one that is shaping up now.

"There is an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, gradually weakening through spring 2016," reads the 10 September 2015 El Nino advisory of the US Climate Prediction Center/National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/National Weather Service and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Northern Hemisphere winter is December 20, 2015-March 19, 2016. Spring starts on March 20, 2016 and ends on June 20, 2016.

"All models surveyed predict El Niño to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2016, and all multi-model averages predict a peak in late fall/early winter. The forecaster consensus unanimously favors a strong El Niño, with peak 3-month SST departures in the Nino 3.4 region near or exceeding +2.0°C. Overall, there is an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, gradually weakening through spring 2016," the advisory adds.

There is going to be hunger, especially among the farmers, on top of the evacuee problem in Surigao.

Yes, rain still falls, but that's because it's still the dry spell. The worst is yet to come.

With the El Nino and that very warm sea out there in the Pacific, it just doesn't mean dry farmlands, it also means stronger and more typhoons. There is every reason to really crank up disaster reduction and risk management programs way, way above the politicking that it has become. There is every need for government officials to brush up on their empathy so as not to be caught spouting out the most outrageously callous statements in times of need. There is the call for all communities to learn to act and fast.

There is also the greater need for agricultural extension workers to be out there to bring further knowledge and farm technologies to the poor farmers who may not know what to do with a fast drying land.

Yes, there have been drizzles and Metro Manila has been flooding up almost every other day. But Metro Manila is not where the food comes from. Let us take care of our farmers and the farmlands. It will help if the local government can come out with regular updates and mapping of where the most affected farmers are and how they are doing. With information like these, people can extend their own help and assistance as well as sharing of farm technologies for those who can, will not only be on the few heavily understaffed agricultural extension offices.

Beyond just the farmers and those on the way of the typhoons, there are the fishermen as well, who will be throttled by such long weather disturbance, not just because fishing will be unsafe when there is inclement weather, but also because there will be shifts in the fishing grounds as the water continues to heat up.

Bottomline, it will be a difficult start to 2016 for the most vulnerable.
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