OCD underscores preparedness to mitigate El Niño effects 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga (PIA) — Office of Civil Defense (OCD) underscored the importance of preparedness to mitigate the impact of El Niño.

While El Niño has cross-cutting effects across various sectors including agriculture, water and marine resources, human health, and the environment, it is important that both the public and the government do their part to alleviate its effects. 

OCD Central Luzon Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Division Chief Shelby Ruiz encouraged the public to read monthly climate advisories issued by PAGASA and coordinate with their local government units (LGUs) for regular updates. 

“Since El Niño equates to hotter and drier days, it is important that the public learn and adopt water and energy conservation measures such as checking and fixing water leaks and reporting the same to appropriate authorities. Reusing water and using water efficient gadgets such as high-pressure low volume hoses can also go a long way in our water conservation efforts,” she said. 

OCD has been advocating on maximizing rainwater harvesting and storage.

El Niño also strongly impacts agriculture resulting in widespread destruction of crops, fishponds, poultry and livestock.

As such, Ruiz advised farmers to get crop insurance and check advisories from agriculture officials to minimize damage and losses. 

On the part of LGUs, she assured that they continuously report to OCD for monitored effects in their localities so that Regional DRRM Council member-agencies can readily augment if needed. 

“For OCD, we ensure that affected LGUs are accessing their Quick Response Fund through declaration of a State of Calamity,” she furthered. 

A State of Calamity may be declared by LGUs if at least 50 percent of the affected population based on science-based projection are in need of emergency assistance; or at least 30 percent of the means of livelihood on agriculture, business, and industrial sectors are affected. 

Since last year, the RDRRMC has been conducting disaster prevention and mitigation thematic area meetings, special meetings, and full council meetings to align initiatives to the national action plan for El Niño.  

“We also cascade all directives from the national government down to LGUs and focus our efforts on five critical areas including water security, food security, energy security, health, and public safety in order to increase the resiliency of our communities,” she pressed. 

El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon resulting from the interaction between the ocean and atmosphere in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. 

The warm phase lasts eight to 12 months and occurs every two to seven years, characterized by warmer temperatures of +0.5 degree centigrade or higher than average. 

Its peak may be felt during the second quarter of the year. PAGASA, however, clarified that the impact may still vary from one location to another.(CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)

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