Groups urge govt to declare ‘climate emergency’ as Karding leaves millions in losses

Flooded rice fields in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Super Typhoon Karding left at least P160M in damages to the country's agriculture sector according to the Agriculture department. Environmental groups have urged the Philippine government to declare a climate emergency as the country suffers more intense storms due to climate change in the aftermath of Typhoon Karding (Noru). (PHOTO: Aviation 'Hiraya' Regiment, Philippine Army/Facebook)
Flooded rice fields in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Super Typhoon Karding left at least P160M in damages to the country's agriculture sector according to the Agriculture department. Environmental groups have urged the Philippine government to declare a climate emergency as the country suffers more intense storms due to climate change in the aftermath of Typhoon Karding (Noru). (PHOTO: Aviation 'Hiraya' Regiment, Philippine Army/Facebook)

In Typhoon Karding’s aftermath, which has left at least P160.1 million in agricultural damages, environmental groups have urged the Philippine government to declare a climate emergency as the country suffers more intense storms due to climate change.

In a statement on Monday (September 26), national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE) Jon Bonifacio said that Typhoon Karding (international name Noru) is a ‘grim reminder’ of the ongoing climate crisis which has been affecting the Philippines for years now.

“Super Typhoon Karding is another grim reminder that the climate crisis is here and now, and that national and world leaders need to step up in terms of proactive action to mitigate and prepare for its impacts,” said Jon Bonifacio,

Bonifacio highlighted the need to rehabilitate and conserve natural barriers such as the Sierra Madre mountain range, which has been under heavy threats of deforestation, illegal logging, mining activities, and development projects such as the Kaliwa-Kanan Dam.

“In this light, destructive projects such as the Kaliwa-Kanan Dam and attacks on conservation areas like Masungi Georeserve are direct threats to the lives of millions of Filipinos, and the Marcos administration, if it is sincere in its promise of climate action, should put a stop to this,” he added.

Sierra Madre serves as a buffer against storms from the Pacific Ocean, weakening them before they hit Luzon.

Meanwhile, another environmental group focusing on climate action called on the national and local governments to declare a climate emergency.

According to Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (AKP/Climate Action Philippines), the climate emergency declaration should reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, among others.

“With every super typhoon or another extreme weather event striking the nation comes more loss and damage, some of which can never be recovered, and the cries of the earth and the poor that grow louder and louder,” AKP said.

From 2010 to 2020, the Philippines has suffered P506.1 billion in climate-related losses and damage according to data from the Finance department.

Agricultural damages

This image taken with a drone, shows flooded residential area and fields due to Typhoon Karding (Noru) in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, Philippines, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Typhoon Noru blew out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving some people dead, causing floods and power outages and forcing officials to suspend classes and government work in the capital and outlying provinces. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
This image taken with a drone, shows flooded residential area and fields due to Typhoon Karding (Noru) in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, Philippines, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Typhoon Noru blew out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving some people dead, causing floods and power outages and forcing officials to suspend classes and government work in the capital and outlying provinces. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday said that Karding has left at least P160.1 million in damages to the Philippines’ agricultural sector after it battered Central Luzon, the country’s largest producer of rice and other crops.

This translates to a total volume loss of 7,457 metric tons (MT) which affects a total of 3,780 farmers and fisherfolk, and 16,659 hectares of agricultural land.

The latest estimate covers the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Bicol Region.

According to the report, rice crops recorded a total volume loss of 6,571 MT worth P119.4 million, while corn suffered damages worth P11.6 million.

High-value crops, specifically assorted vegetables, were also affected, losing P27.05 million worth of produce.

Domini Velasquez, chief economist at China Banking Corp., said that the damages will be felt in rice prices as Karding hit the country’s ‘rice granary.’

“Karding will likely drive inflation up towards the end of the year as it hit palay-growing provinces before the start of harvest season. The most recent development exacerbates upward risk on rice prices given lower than expected yield due to higher fertilizer prices at the first half of the year and external price pressures as India banned some of its rice exports,” the economist said.

Meanwhile, the fisheries sector suffered a total loss of P1.9 million in damages to fisheries produce, fishing boats, and gears. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will provide fingerlings to affected fishermen, the DA said.

Additional damage and losses are still expected to be recorded according to the agriculture department.

The agency also said that 133,240 bags of rice seeds, 5,729 bags of corn seeds, and 4,911 kilograms of assorted vegetables seeds will be available to affected farmers.

Karding, the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the country in 2022, hit Central Luzon with sustained winds of up to 150 kph on Sunday night.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are his own.

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