The Philippines has been affected by a strong El Niño-related dry spell since December 2015, which has hit food production. El Niño peaked between December and February, and drought affected 40% of the country, and is expected to persist in 2016.
The most drought-affected area is the island of Mindanao in the south, which is the country's poorest area and where more than half of the population is reliant on agriculture. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, 676,465 people have been affected by drought in the following areas of Mindanao: Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in Soccsksargenand Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Zamboanga peninsula in Mindanao has been facing severe water shortages.