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Giant hailstones destroy over 15 000 homes in Manipur, India

Giant hailstones destroy over 15 000 homes in Manipur, India

A severe hailstorm struck Manipur, northeast India, on May 5, 2024, resulting in the death of one person and the destruction of over 15 000 homes and other structures. The storm, characterized by heavy rains, giant hail, and strong winds, wreaked havoc across several districts, leaving extensive structural and agricultural damage in its wake.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh reported that 15 425 houses, numerous vehicles, and other properties were severely damaged due to the powerful storm on Sunday, May 5, which included intense rains and giant hail (7+ cm) accompanied by strong winds.

The districts of Imphal West and Imphal East were the hardest hit, with 6 053 and 5 600 homes damaged, respectively. Additional damages were reported in Bishnupur, Thoubal, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Ukhrul, and other areas, totaling the destruction of over 15 000 homes.

The hailstorm also left many vehicles with cracked windows or severe damage due to the size of the hailstones and the strength of the winds.

In addition, at least six churches in the hilly districts suffered significant damage, including roofs being torn off by strong winds.

Severe agricultural damage was reported, along with a significant toll on livestock.”

YouTube video
YouTube video

In response to the extensive damage and to aid those affected, the state government opened 42 relief camps providing temporary shelter and distributed essential relief materials through Deputy Commissioners. To mitigate the economic impact, Chief Minister Singh announced measures to prevent price hikes in roofing and construction materials and confirmed that compensation would be provided for the loss of livestock, crops, and vegetables suffered by farmers.

The education department, citing the widespread destruction and the potential for further severe weather, decided to close all schools—government-aided, private, and central—on May 6 and 7.

The Meteorological Department has issued an orange alert, forecasting heavy to very heavy rains across several northeastern states, including Manipur, until May 7. This alert comes as parts of the valley areas in Imphal East and Imphal West districts were blanketed with 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12.7 cm) of ice, covering the landscape in what resembled thick snow.

YouTube video
YouTube video


07:13 UTC, May 9

Severe vegetable production crisis

In what could turn out to be a big worry, Manipur is poised for a severe crisis in vegetable production in months to come as a fallout of this violent hailstorm, the Nagaland Post reports.

The hailstorm caused significant agricultural damage, particularly in the Bishnupur district, which is the state’s largest vegetable-producing area.

Farmers in the Phumlou area were particularly hard-hit, with approximately 60 farmers experiencing total crop destruction over 30 ha (74 acres) of paddy fields. Key crops such as watermelon, cucumber, brinjal, pumpkin, and green chili were completely destroyed, along with substantial damage to seasonal fruits like mangoes. The devastation has disrupted potential income, with losses estimated at Rs two lakh per hectare.

Local farmer Laishram Indra shared that he had shifted to cultivating watermelon and pumpkin on his brother’s land after unrest last year made his own fields unusable. This recent storm destroyed these crops, which were ready for harvest, compounding losses from the previous year when his crops were ruined by local disturbances.


1 Over 15,000 houses, other properties damaged in Manipur in heavy rains, hailstorm: CM – India Tribune – May 6, 2024

2 One killed, 15k houses damaged in Manipur hailstorm – Indian Express – May 7, 2024

3 Veggie crisis looms large following violent hailstorm in Manipur – Nagaland Post – May 8, 2024


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