Drought threatens World Heritage rice terraces in Philippines

A persistent heatwave in the Philippines is affecting a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A drought caused by the scorching heat has hit the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras located in Ifugao Province in the island of Luzon. The terraces are a living cultural landscape that can be traced back 2,000 years.

The town of Mayoyao where a number of the rice terraces are located, is among the more than 200 cities and municipalities where a state of calamity has been declared due to the devastating effect of the prolonged drought.

The blistering heat is believed to have been brought on by the El Nino phenomenon. Some farmers say they cannot harvest the rice they planted in February.

A farmer said: " Weeds are growing now because there's no more water. The rice crops are stunted. They are not growing properly."

The Philippine agriculture ministry estimates that as of the end of April, farm damage caused by the heatwave soared to about 103 million dollars.

Manila recorded a temperature of 38.8 degrees Celsius on April 27, the highest in more than 100 years.
The extreme heat is also disrupting classes and the supply of water in Manila and other parts of the country.