hailstorm damaged standing maize crop

Hailstorm damaged maize crop in Matta, Swat.
Heavy rain coupled with hailstorm and strong winds damaged crops, orchards and uprooted trees in several districts on Sunday.

A severe hailstorm damaged standing maize crop, vegetables and fruit orchards in different parts of Swat district.

The farmers and orchard owners said it was for the second time in four months that the heavy hailstorm and rains had destroyed their standing crops and orchards, inflicting huge losses on them.

"Torrential rains and hailstorm in April and May had destroyed fruit orchards, including peach, plum, apricot, persimmon and apple, and standing wheat crop, inflicting heavy losses on the farmers," Fazal Maula, an agriculture expert, said, adding the Sunday's hailstorm was more severe than the first one, which has battered orchards and standing crops. The worst-hit areas were Matta, Khwazakhela and Bahrain.

"Hailstorm in June is a strange thing for me, which has extensively damaged the ready peach fruit, strawberries, maize and rice crops," Khalid Iqbal, a resident of Kuza Durushkhela in Matta, said.

Ihsanullah, a farmer from the same area, said the hailstorm left him completely bankrupt.

"It continued for 10 minutes, but it was so severe that it ruined my entire crop and vegetables fields," he told Dawn, adding his family's sustenance was only farming.

In Upper Dir, heavy rain damaged standing crops, orchards and a portion of Dir-Kumrat Road. Downpour in Doog Darra, Sheringal, Gawaldi, Thal, Byar and Usheri Darra caused flooding in streams and nullahs. The Main Dir-Kumrat Road was blocked at various places due to landslides and debris.

In Doog Darra, a road was blocked due to debris brought on by the rain. Standing wheat crop and fruit orchards were also badly damaged.

In Sheringal, water level in River Panjkora and streams rose after the rain.

The rain also caused damage in Usheri Darra area. In Mansehra, strong winds and hailstorm followed by heavy rain hit upper parts of Hazara, damaging standing crops and uprooted trees in Mansehra and Torghar districts.

"The strong winds and hailstorm destroyed crops of onion, okra and other vegetables, causing huge losses to the growers, who were already reeling because of previous such calamities," Rubnawaz, a resident of Torghar, told reporters.

The rainwater also flooded roads and streets in Mansehra and Torghar.

The rain followed by gusty winds and hailstorm, however, turned the weather pleasant.