24 April 1998
El Niño pushes Philippinos to desperate measures

DESPERATE farmers in Mindanao, in the Philippines, are reported to be eating poisonous plants and selling their children because of devastation from drought.

The southern region of Mindanao is badly hit by drought which has damaged rice and coconut crops. Mindanao accounts for about 50% of national coconut output.

Farmers claim output will fall further unless June brings rains after more than a year of sub-normal rainfall blamed on El Niño.

The Philippine Coconut Authority warned coconut production could be cut by 10% in the Philippines this year. Rice harvests are down by 90% in the worst-hit areas.

  • The Guardian 24/04/98 page 18
  • Financial Times 24/04/98 page 31