August 1, 2023 People's Journal 263 views

TYPHOON Egay and the southwest monsoon or habagat have caused significant damage to agriculture and infrastructure in various regions of the Philippines, totaling more than P5.4 billion.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the total cost of infrastructure damage in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Calabarzon reached P3.51 billion. Meanwhile, agricultural damage was estimated at P1.96 billion in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The disaster has also led to the damage of 41,591 houses, affecting 668,974 families (equivalent to 2,452,738 individuals) in 4,164 barangays. Of those affected, 13,718 families (50,467 persons) are being assisted in 736 evacuation centers, while 63,066 families (262,008 individuals) are receiving aid outside of evacuation centers.

The death toll from the typhoon stands at 25, with 23 still being validated. Additionally, 52 people were reported injured, with 39 of them confirmed. There are also reports of 13 missing persons that are currently being verified.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the typhoon affected 123,274 farmers and fisherfolk in several regions. The disaster affected a total of 147,063 hectares of land, resulting in a production loss of 86,975 metric tons (MT) of various commodities, including rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, poultry, and fisheries. Some farm and fishery infrastructures and equipment have also been damaged, and the exact amount of this damage is still being assessed.

To assist the affected farmers and fisherfolk, the DA is providing various forms of aid, including rice and corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry, and fingerlings of tilapia, carp, and catfish. The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) is offering a P200 million Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program with up to P25,000 loanable amount payable in three years at zero interest. Additionally, P500 million worth of Quick Response Fund (QRF) is available for the rehabilitation of the affected areas.