Typhoon Haiyan's deadly impact on the Philippines could get worse by leaving millions hungry if the country's farmers don't get help in replenishing the country's devastated rice harvest—and the clock is ticking, an international relief and development organization has warned.
"They need assistance, and they need it now," Gawain Kripke, director of policy at Oxfam, said in a phone interview.
What's needed are tools, fertilizer, seeds and machinery, along with efforts to clear irrigation channels and repair damaged agricultural infrastructure, he said.
"They only have a few weeks until the December planting time, and time is running out," Kripke said.
Rice harvests in the five Philippine regions most affected by Haiyan have been annihilated, according to Oxfam and the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Haiyan descended on the country just as farmers were harvesting the main season crop, which represents more than 50 percent of the annual production, according to an Oxfam release.
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Oxfam said that missing the next rice-planting season in December would leave millions of Filipinos without their daily staple food, and would result in a huge loss of income and more debt for farmers.
"Donors have naturally focused on giving immediate aid like shelter and health care, and that's very good," Kripke said. "But nothing's really coming in to help the farmers recover their agricultural livelihood that would help feed the people."