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Philippines Preparing for Floods

March 1, 1998

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Fidel Ramos said Sunday he has ordered precautions against the floods and heavy rains that the La Nina weather phenomenon is expected to bring to Philippines this year.

La Nina, expected in June, has the opposite effects of El Nino, the worldwide weather phenomenon that has caused prolonged drought in the country since last year.

Ramos ordered government agencies to clean and repair all waterways and flood control projects before La Nina’s onset.

A government statement said floods brought by La Nina could affect about 940,000 acres of rice lands and wipe out a substantial part of the country’s rice output this year.

Agriculture Secretary Salvador Enriquez said the government is considering steps such as delaying rice planting in some provinces until the rainy season has passed.

Weather bureau chief Leoncio Amadore, a member of a government committee dealing with El Nino’s effects, has said about 90 percent of the country received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall from October 1997 to January 1998.

El Nino has brought heavier than usual rains to other parts of the world, including South America and southern California.

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