2017 study: Little to average public concern about drought

FILIPINOS show varying levels of concern about drought, according to a 2017 study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) DisasterNet Philippines.
HHI’s study, conducted in 2017 with 4,368 adult respondents, is the first nationwide household survey on disaster preparedness in the Philippines, a statement on the study released on Friday said.
According to the report, at the national average, only 12 percent of Filipinos reported feeling extremely concerned. Twenty-four percent were concerned, 21 percent were somewhat concerned, 16 percent were a little concerned, and 26 percent were not at all concerned of being affected by drought.
Metro Manila and Rizal province had been coping earlier this week with a water crisis, particularly the supply shortage in areas covered by concessionaire Manila Water.
But according to the 2017 study, “the lowest level of concern was reported in the National Capital Region (NCR) with only 11 percent while the highest was in Soccsksargen with 67 percent.”
In regions identified by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services (Pagasa) as already experiencing less rainfall in the last five months associated with El Niño, less than half of each region’s population expressed any concern about being impacted by drought.
In Zamboanga Peninsula, where Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay have been experiencing drought since February this year, only 25 percent were concerned about drought, before the disaster, the statement pointed out.
“In Northern Mindanao, where the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental have already lost at least P292 million in agriculture this year due to the effects of El Niño, as reported by the Department of Agriculture (DA), 57 percent were concerned about drought before the disaster hit.”
“In the Ilocos Region, where drought has been present in Ilocos Norte since last month, and dry spell is likely in Ilocos Sur and La Union, 41 percent were concerned.”
“In the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where Sulu and Maguindanao are threatened by drought, 39 percent thought they will likely be affected by drought.”
“In Mimaropa, where drought is also expected in Palawan, Occidental Mindoro, and Oriental Mindoro, 47 percent were concerned.”
Davao, the region with the second highest level of concern (63 percent), had experienced drought in 2016, the statement noted, citing the study.
“Palawan, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao, and Sulu had also been hit by drought in the same year, while Occidental Mindoro had experienced dry spell, according to a Pagasa data.”
The study noted that, in terms of preparedness, “a mere 2.4 percent of the country’s population reported having a plan for drought.”