The wind and hailstorm that struck in two gewogs of Shompangkha and Gakidling Sarpang blew away roofs of six houses and twelve poultry sheds.

Among the crops, the storm damaged 8,907 fruit bearing areca nut trees, 9,939 flowering orange trees and 3,757 banana trees. About 174 litchi trees, 64 mango trees, 31 guava trees and 132 papaya tree were also damaged.

Shompangkha gewog administration assessment found at least five jackfruit trees, 210 pineapples, three coconut trees, 13 lemon trees and 246 coffee plants were damaged.

According to the final assessment report, 69.9 acres of maize, 8.59 acres of chilli, and 4.76 acres of beans and 4.14 acres of potato were damaged by the hailstorm.

The storm also left 14.1 acres of vegetable field, in which onion, egg plant, cabbage, tomato and pumpkin were grown, barren.

The assessment report states that at least two jersey cows, seven goats and 710 poultry birds were killed. Over 1,500 eggs were also damaged. Dargaythang and Kencholing chiwogs suffered extensive damages.

One of the farmers who suffered extensive damage is San Bahadur Subba of Norbugang village. He lost over 20 fruiting areca nut trees and about two acres of chili.  He also lost over 250 poultry birds, which were just a month old and would have started giving eggs in another two months.

It had been over three months that San Bahadur Subba began supplying at least 50 kilograms of chili to Thimphu every Friday. “I could not send yesterday, all the chili plants are covered by soil now,” he said. After the storm, he deployed four people to collect the chili and they could collect at least 100kgs yesterday.

San Bahadur Subba said that 20 areca nut trees bore at least 20 sacks of fruit, which is sold at Nu 2,000 per bag. “I’ve lost all my sources of cash income,” he said.

His neighbour Nima Lama also lost about 40 areca nut trees. Chili planted in about 30-decimal plot was completely damaged. Nima Lama said although he suffered minor losses compared to his neighbours and other farmers, the storm damaged vegetables planted in about 15-decimal land. “I lost 15 poultry birds as well,” he said.

Shompangkha Mangmi Ash Man Rai said that the gewog administration has informed agencies concerned such as Royal Insurance Corporation for the house insurance of the affected houses. “We’re not sure what can be done to the crop and livestock losses farmers suffered,” he said.

Meanwhile, electricity is yet to be restored in Shompangkha, Gakidling and the dzongkhag administration area in Sarpang. Electric poles and cable wires were damaged at several locations.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang