LAOAG CITY – Persistent rains for almost three weeks now in Ilocos Norte province have caused PHP23.4 million damage to crops and fisheries, according to the Provincial Agriculture Office on Tuesday.
Provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay said damaged were some 428 hectares of rice fields “under tillering, reproductive and heading”, which were submerged by floodwater in the towns of Badoc, Bangui, Bacarra, Piddig, Marcos, and Solsona, including Laoag City.
Thousands of fingerlings or juveniles worth some PHP8 million also escaped from overflowing fishponds.
Excessive downpour also damaged high value crops such as finger pepper, bitter gourd (ampalaya), winged bean, string bean, papaya, patola, upo, squash and banana.
“Initially, the amount of rain has become beneficial to farmers in rain(fed) areas but not for the irrigated and fishery sector,” said Lagmay, as she lamented farmers are already feeling the brunt of the global pandemic before this nature-induced calamity.
Under these conditions, the weather bureau said flash floods and rain-induced landslides are possible during heavy or prolonged rainfall, especially in areas that are highly susceptible as identified in hazard maps.
Meanwhile, hundreds of motorists were stranded in Pagudpud town on Tuesday due to recurring landslides in Sitio Bangquero, Pancian, and Pagudpud.
According to a situational report from the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 1, this is now the fourth road closure since July 23, as the southwest monsoon started bringing light to moderate rains to at times heavy rains in the entire province.
Disaster risk reduction and management offices remain on alert to take appropriate measures while the public is advised to keep watch of the next weather update. (PNA)