Over half mln affected by El Nino in S. Philippines

Over half a million Filipinos in southern Philippines have been affected by drought due to prolonged El Nino phenomenon, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Thursday.

Since the abnormal weather condition started late last year, the DSWD said, a total of 125,228 families and 626,140 persons have been affected by the drought in North and South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in Region XII and Maguindanao in Autonomous Region un Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

"To ensure that affected families will still have a source of income, Cash-for-Work (CFW) under the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CCAM) is being implemented," the department said.

The CFW is a short-term measure to help small farmers, forest workers, and farm laborers recover from the impact of losing their livelihood due to the lack of rain.

Under the program, beneficiaries will receive training, render community service utilizing their newly-learned skills and at the same time, earn daily income which is equivalent to 75 percent of the regional minimum wage.

DSWD-Field Office XII has provided 14,622 family food packs amounting to 5,263,920 pesos (114,653.44 U.S. dollars) as augmentation assistance to the 21 affected municipalities in Maguindanao.

The state weather forecasting agency projects the El Nino phenomenon to prevail until the second quarter of the year.

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