Severe hailstorms wreak havoc across India, destroy homes and crops


Bouts of hailstorms since the past weeks have wreaked havoc in various parts of India. In Mizoram, hail lashed about 795 houses as confirmed by disaster management and rehabilitation minister Lalchamliana on April 29, 2020. In Haryana, more than 250 000 ha (618 000 acres) of rabi crops were ravaged by heavy showers and hail over the past weekend. In West Bengal, up to 8 million dollars' worth of mango was ravaged in Malda due to a hailstorm last week.

In the northeastern state of Mizoram, 46 of the houses were totally destroyed, while 749 others sustained partial damage, according to Lalchamliana's report, Nine out of 11 districts were affected, including 58 villages.

The state government will also provide all possible help to the afflicted families, Lalchamliana confirmed, who is also the home minister.

The worst-affected area is the Hliappui village in east Mizoram's Saitual district, with a total of 268 residential areas hit, 189 of which were completely damaged.

The government will also extend assistance to the families, following the first response in which they have provided 688 bundles of tin sheet worth 2.9 million rupees or around 38 500 dollars. The rural department also gave 200 and 100 bundles of tin sheets.

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In the capital territory Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh, skies turned dark as hailstorms with a spell of rain and gusty winds hit the cities of Ghaziabad and Noida.

In the northern state of Haryana, more than 250 000 ha (618 000 acres) of standing rabi crops were ravaged by weekend storms– out of the total 2.5 million ha (6.2 million acres) under wheat in the 2019/20 rabi season.

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"A basic report has shown that wheat, mustard, chana, and barley have been damaged. Most of these crops were ready to be harvested," an official stated.

Mustard and chana sustained severe damage. Other smaller crops like barley, smaller pulses, and vegetables have also been hit.

"Heavy rains at this time will delay the harvest of wheat in the state for a few more days. Farmers need to wait for the grains to dry before the standing crop can be harvested," said wheat farmer Alok Verma who is based in Karnal.

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In the eastern state of West Bengal, Mangoes in Malda valued at about 8 million dollars or 600 million rupees were lost due to a powerful hailstorm, an official confirmed on Monday, April 27. The district is popular for its variety of mango, which is grown on more than 31 000 ha (77 000 acres) of land.

"The hailstorm has destroyed around 60 000 metric tonnes of mango in the district in two days– on April 19 and 20," said Rhaul Chakraborty, assistant director of the horticulture & food processing department in the district of Malda.

"The early variety of Langra, Gopalbhog, and Lakshmanbhog were hard hit. It's worth around 60 crore rupees." 

The value of mango trade in Malda is approximately six billion or 80 million dollars per year. 15 mango producing blocks of the district have been affected, as well as orchards in English Bazar, Old Malda, Ratua I and II, and Kaliachak II.

Around 450 000 people are associated with mango business in the district.

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Featured image credit: Saumil Shah/Flickr


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One Comment

  1. Thank you for a fabulous report — you gave us a peep into the lives of the people who live there — provided insight and the whole atmosphere of this region of India– as if we were there with them, experiencing the devastating storms … even beautiful music to enjoy! — thank you.

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