It’s the rainy season in the Philippines, but this time El Nino is involved. CCTV’s Barnaby Lo has more.
El Nino causing problems in the PhilippinesIt's the rainy season in the Philippines, but this time El Nino is involved. CCTV's Barnaby Lo has more.
The weather and climate experts are warning of a possible dry spell brought about by the weather pattern El Nino.
Heavy clouds hang over one of the most vital reservoirs in the Philippines, but this isn’t nature at work. For weeks now, the government has been conducting cloud seeding operations to induce rain and try to slow down the decline of the water level in the dam.
A dam is the major source of water both for farmlands north of Manila and the city itself. Right now the water level there is already below critical but there’s fear that a dry spell caused by El Nino could last for months.
El Nino is an oceanographic event that happens over the Pacific Ocean. It is characterized by an increasing sea surface temperature, which alters the normal circulation of the air. When there is El Nino, the impact on the Philippines means a decrease in seasonal rainfall.
This could mean a water shortage for those living in the city and more significantly, for rice farmers.
The question is whether or not Filipinos will stop eating rice, though it is unlikely. A shortage in the supply of rice could still drive food prices up. The hope, however, is to keep this to a minimum and prevent any form of unrest as a result.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is bracing for the worst, after having suffered a severe impact during the last intense El Nino event in 16 years ago. Rian Maelzer reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia braces for El Nino return after 16 yearsMalaysia is bracing for the worst, after having suffered a severe impact during the last intense El Nino event in 16 years ago. Rian Maelzer reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia has only recently emerged from a prolonged dry spell that caused millions of people in the capital to endure weeks of water rationing — with two days of water supply followed by two days without. It also resulted in thousands of peat and brush fires, and choking smog.
Now Malaysians are being told that if El Nino occurs in the next couple of months, as signs are pointing to, they could be in for more of the same, or worse…as happened in 1997-98.
Malaysia’s government isn’t taking any chances. It recently announced that it was setting up a special cabinet committee to try to minimize the impact on water supplies, agriculture, people’s health and the environment should a severe El Nino occur.”
If there is a prolonged dry spell, then agriculture would be hit…including production of rice, vegetables, and palm oil — an industry worth up to 22 billion dollars a year to Malaysia.
Any increase in prices could hit the pockets of consumers, especially in developing countries.
The palm oil industry, though, says its biggest worry is that El Nino could raise the risk of fires that could affect plantations, and once again threaten air quality across the region.