President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered Tuesday the coordinated implementation of all government plans to mitigate the effects of a 'strong' El Niño, which is expected to intensify in the coming months.

El Niño, bringing hotter and drier conditions, is expected to persist until the second quarter of 2024. Moderate to severe drought conditions are likely from February to May 2024, potentially affecting the country's water resources, agriculture, energy, health and public safety.

Marcos issued the directive for an updated national action plan on El Niño during a sectoral meeting in Malacañang.

In a briefing Tuesday, Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. said the national action plan covers measures aimed at ensuring sufficient water supply and stable supply of key food communities.

The plan also seeks to minimize power interruptions, reducing fire incidents, and managing outbreaks of diseases.

'We need to further intensify our efforts to make sure we're ready for this,' Solidum said.

By the end of May, around 65 provinces may experience drought and six provinces may experience dry spell. Drought refers to three consecutive months of way below normal rainfall conditions, while dry spell refers to three consecutive months of below normal rainfall conditions.

El Niño is projected to 'further fuel the heat in 2024,' the World Meteorological Organization earlier warned.

The departments of defense, science and technology, agriculture, environment, social welfare, energy, health, information and technology, interior and local government, budget and management and trade as well as the National Economic and Development Authority were present in the sectoral meeting.

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