Illustrative image (Photo: AFP)
The Philippine government and local environmental groups have introduced measures to mitigate the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon, which is expected to hit the Philippines and other countries in the Asia Pacific region later this year.

According to forecasts from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the strongest El Ninos in recorded history will happen in the coming months.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog in the Philippines, has called on the public to save on water and electricity consumption as these two commodities will be the first to be affected by possible prolonged drought caused by El Nino.

El Nino occurs every two to seven years in varying intensity, and the temperature of waters of the eastern Pacific can rise by up to 4 degrees Celsius.

The Philippines weather agency said the phenomenon in the country may intensify from moderate to severe from the last quarter of 2015 through to the first quarter of 2016.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has implemented measures to lessen the impact of El Nino since 2014 such as cloud-seeding operations in different parts of the country. 

The DA has initiated water-management and production-support programs to help farmers deal with the impacts of the drought, including the installation of small water-impounding projects and diversion dams in rice-growing regions.

A record El Nino affected 74,000 hectares of agricultural lands in 18 provinces in the Philippines in 1997, with Mindanao in the southern Philippines being the worst hit. More than 70 people died and almost half a million farmer families suffered from food shortage because of the drought.-VNA