mid-summer heat
settled shouts
out curling

leaf fronds brown
and cracked
clear voices cry

hear us

When my mother and sister arrived in Iloilo City 2 weeks ago, they both asked about the brown stuff they could see when their plane approached the airport. I told them it was likely dried up rice paddies.

Though the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has not yet officially announced an El Niño cycle, the Philippines (in particular the Western Visayas) is showing all the signs. El Niño is an unusual warming in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific, and when it strikes the Philippines brings with it very late rains, weak monsoon activity, and then an early end to the wet season.

For many subsistence farmers whose rice and corn crops are already shrivelled or heat damaged, an announcement from a faraway branch of the UN is of little consequence. On the plus side there are likely to be less tropical cyclones this year in the Philippines.

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