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Climate change spawns bugs, drought

The weird weather has begun to affect in subtle ways the lives of rural folk in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, particularly those rebuilding their lives after being displaced by the separatist war.
In the past, farmers could tell when the rains would fall, how the winds would blow. "The rains used to come during these last months of the year, but recently, we have had warm nights. During the day you can see the heat waves rising as if we are in the middle of summer. And if it rains, the floods will wash out everything in the fields." The mild monsoons used to occur during Ramadan in September and October. This time, the wind shifts were unpredictable. Increases of 1 degree Celsius at nighttime during the growing season are well within the predicted range of global warming, and will reduce global rice yields by about 10 percent every year. Black bugs, which began to appear in the mid-1980s, have become more deadly and numerous. "They suck the juice out of the rice stalks and so the grains will not ripen." The bugs also seem to have developed resistance to the pesticides. "They seem to be wiser than human beings now. They hide within the cracks of the earth and wait till the next rains come." "The Alip (River) that flows through Makat has always been a 'moveable' river. It changes direction every seven years." But in the past two years, it has become so unpredictable. Flood waters from the denuded Dagoma Mountain Range, where the headwaters are located, used to reach here in an hour. Now, it takes just about 15 minutes for the rampaging waters to come.
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