Tuesday, May 07 2013 @ 09:55 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
The Cabinet Council approved a resolution declaring the State of Emergency in the so-called dry arch region, including the provinces of Coclé, Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera, in response to an ongoing absence of rain (drought conditions.)
The proposal was presented by the Minister of Agriculture, Oscar Osorio, accompanied by Arturo Alvarado, the Director of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC).
According to Minister Osorio, climatic and meteorological conditions have been characterized by a long period with no rain in the country, affecting the growth and production of rainfed crops and improved pastures, used to feed most of the cattle production in the country.
This ongoing lack of rainfall has decimated the cattle population and has caused reduced flows and levels in the rivers and streams, and the availability of groundwater, causing havoc on agricultural production.
The declaration of an official State of Emergency, Osorio said, authorizes the Minister of Economy and Finance - if required - to request a waiver before the National Assembly for the temporary suspension of the financial limits established in Article 11 of Law 34 of 2008, and the attainment of economic resources for the Ministry of Agriculture, up to 3 million dollars.
Editor's Comment: Well, this drought is not related to an El Niño or La Niña event because we are currently under ENSO neutral conditions. Normally the heavy rainy season rains start on or about 15 April in Panama, so they are now at least three weeks late. If it ever stops raining in Panama - the Panama Canal is screwed (because it runs on rainwater) - and so is the electrical grid, because about 50% of the nation's power comes from hydro electricity. The cattle herd in Panama is suffering from a lack of both feed and water, and it's reaching a critical level. You can save the animals, but it's not economically feasible to do so. Trucking in the feed and water costs more than the cattle are worth, so they are sacrificed.
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