Hailstorms claim 29 lives, damage up to 25 percent of Malihabad mangoes, Uttar Pradesh, India


Heavy rains and hailstorms lashed Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, May 10, 2020, resulting in at least 29 fatalities across 15 districts. The storms have also led to an estimated 25 percent loss of the fruit in Malihabad's mango belt. Uttar Pradesh is the second-biggest mango producer after Andhra Pradesh.

At least 38 districts of the state were affected by the severe weather. Four of the fatalities were in Kasganj; three in Sitapur, Bulandshahr, and Badaun; two each in Barbanki, Chitrakoot, Ballia, Pilibhit, Hardoi, and Kannauj; one each in Aligarh, Amethi, Lucknow, and Fatehpur.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that financial assistance– roughly 5 300 dollars or 400 000 rupees– will be provided to the families of the victims.

He also urged officials to make arrangements for the treatment of those injured and has instructed district magistrates to promptly conduct an assessment of loss to human life, animals, and properties.

The maximum temperature on Sunday was 35.9 °C (96.6 °F), which was 3.3 °C (5.9 °F) below normal. Meanwhile, the minimum temperature was 25.6 °C (78 °F), which was 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above normal.

The storms may have also resulted in at least 25 percent loss of mango in Malihabad. "There was 30 percent less fruit this time already," said mango entrepreneur SC Shukla.

"The thunderstorm on Sunday dealt an even severe blow. There was so much fruit that dropped on the ground in my orchard. Even the trees got damaged."

"It was a huge loss today," Insram Ali lamented, president of All India Mango Growers Association. "There is a prediction that this weather would continue and we are geared up for the worst. Whatever mango we lost today can only be consumed in homes to make dry mango khatai or chutney."

At least 400 000 ha (988 422 acres) of land in the north and central UP is under mango cultivation. The state is the second-biggest mango producer after Andhra Pradesh.

"The entire mango cycle has been delayed this year because of weather conditions. Repeated rains and hailstorms are further damaging the yield. This could affect the taste of the fruit too," Ali stated.

Featured image credit: Shreyas Vatare/Flickr


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