In Pictures - El-Niño and food security in the Philippines

Since early 2015, more than 40 per cent of the Philippines has been experiencing severe drought triggered by El-Niño, causing the loss of agriculture production amounting to 82 million US dollars (81 million Swiss francs). The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recently released an Information Bulletin on the drought and dry spells.

The province of Cebu, located in Visayas, is just one of 37 provinces currently under a state of calamity due to the drought. Now as El-Niño slowly loosens its grip, the possibility of La Niña (an intense monsoon activity) which is expected to hit the country in July, presents even greater concern. 

The Philippine Red Cross has been responding to the affected areas by supplying safe drinking water and food relief assistance. 

Photo Credits: Cheryl Raveo Gagalac/IFRC

In Pictures - Drought in Philippines 1

This cornfield in San Remegio, Cebu, is just one of the many fields damaged by the extreme heat brought by El-Niño. The Philippines Department of Agriculture estimated that around 182,000 farmers have been affected by the drought.

In Pictures - Drought in Philippines 2

The drought affected water supplies and the livelihoods of several towns in Cebu. The Philippine Red Cross has distributed over 717,000 liters of water using its water tankers and food packs to around 90,000 families in several provinces. 

In Pictures - Drought in Philippines 3

Parts of the country are also experiencing a shortage of power as electricity supplied by hydroelectric dams ceased to function due to low water levels.

In Pictures - Drought in Philippines 4

A farmer from the town of Tambongon, San Remigio in Cebu shows this season's poor corn harvest. While over 50 per cent of farmers in the Philippines plant rice, 38 per cent plant corn and another 8 per cent plant high value crops such as eggplant, squash or tomato.

In Pictures - Drought in Philippines 5

After rice, corn is the second most important food crop in the Philippines. With the expected arrival of the La Niña phenomenon following El Niño, stronger monsoon and excessive rainfall may result in flooding, which would cause further damage to crops and hinder replanting, exacerbating the current food security situation.

To read more about the drought-affected areas in the Philippines, click here.

For updates on Twitter follow @IFRCAsiaPacific and @philredcross