Tornadoes ruin houses and destroy crops in North Cotabato

A farmworker checks the banana plants devastated by a twister in Barangay Manongol, Kidapawan City.

Tornadoes have ravaged houses and croplands for weeks in some parts of North Cotabato, a province already experiencing a dry spell for months. The latest of seven twisters to hit the province this month alone was reported Monday night in Barangay Manongol city. At least 5,000 banana plants were damaged, but no human casualty was reported.

It was the third to occur in the city this month, officials said. On Monday last week, a tornado damaged some P2 million worth of fruiting banana plants in Barangay Paco. Another damaged 27 houses in Barangay Magatos in Kabacan town, according to Mayor Herlo Guzman.

Banana trees were felled by the tornado, 29 April 2015, North Cotabato.

In M'lang town a tornado tore apart 15 houses and 11 school buildings in two villages on April 12. Hundreds of banana plants were felled when a second twister came, according to Mayor Joselito Piñol. In Alamada town another twister damaged 30 houses during the second week of April, according to the municipality's disaster response office.

In Davao del Sur province governor Claude Bautista announced the declaration of a state of calamity as he urged his allies to forget politics for the moment and concentrate on efforts to help farmers suffering from the effects of the dry spell.

Marivic Hubac, Bautista's executive assistant, said about 7,000 hectares of cropland had already been damaged in the province and in the newly created province of Davao Occidental, citing initial field reports from the agriculture office. The ruined fields included about 500 ha of rice, 2,000 ha of corn, 500 ha of banana, and 3,000 ha of coconuts, Hubac said in a text message.