Disaster: Not even a week after the crops of 88 households in Kashi gewog were destroyed by a hailstorm, the gewog has been hit again by another hailstorm on April 11 destroying the crops of more than a hundred households.

The hailstorm is reported to have lasted for over an hour from 5pm till around 6pm, and has once again affected the crops of the 88 villagers of the Bayul and Lembi chiwogs, that were affected by the last hailstorm that occurred on April 6.

An additional 15 houses from the chiwogs of Lul and Draktey have also been affected, said Wangdue’s agriculture officer, Sonam Zangpo.

He said as per the ongoing damage assessment, the hailstorm has affected potato and wheat crops, and also beans. In the chiwogs of Draktey and Lul, damage was found to be minor when compared to other chiwogs, said the agriculture officer. The total crop damage will be known only after completion of the ongoing damage assessment.

The last hailstorm damaged around 87.55 acres of fields that includes 75 acres of potato and 12.5 acres of wheat. This hailstorm further worsened the damage, local residents said.

For 61-year old Namgay of Goensakha this was first major hailstorm he has ever witnessed.

The hailstorm destroyed both sources of his income: wheat and potato crops. While the hailstorm also destroyed his bean crop, he said their family expenses were primarily met through the sale of potatoes and the exchange of wheat with other products.

“My wife and her friend who had also come to our place, rushed down to the ground floor (where they keep cows) when the hailstorm hit the village,” said Namgay. “There was a roaring sound and total darkness,” he added. “They kept praying for the storm to stop.”

Bayul chiwog tshogpa, Phub Dorji, said he was travelling to Lul, when the hailstorm hit the chiwog. His bean plants and about an acre of potato crops were damaged, he said.

Meanwhile, the disaster focal person, dzongkhag agriculture officer, kidu officer and local leaders are conducting a damage assessment. The reports will be submitted to the disaster management and agriculture department on completion of the assessment.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue