Manila — Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) wiped out a third of the Philippine rice crop, said the United Nations food agency on Tuesday, and called for “urgent assistance” to farmers who need to sow new seeds.
“Regions most severely affected by the typhoon account for one-third of the total rice production in the country,” said a statement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“Hundreds of thousands of farmers in the Philippines whose crops were destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan need urgent assistance to sow new seeds before the end of the current planting season,” the statement said.
When the typhoon hit, the main-season harvest was well under way. It also badly disrupted planting for the secondary season, the Manila Times reported the FAO as saying.
It added, “There is concern that many storage facilities may have been destroyed, along with their contents.”
Dominique Burgeon, the head of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, said, “If we want to avoid entire regions of the country having to rely on food aid, we need to act now to help vulnerable families to plant or replant by late December.”
Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 4,000 people and affected an estimated 13 million.
Four million were displaced, says the UN humanitarian agency OCHA.
An estimated 2.5 million are still in need of food aid.