Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tornado damaged crops and cattle of Rs 507 million

The tornado that hit Bara and Parsa districts last fortnight caused Rs 507 million worth of crops and cattle loss, according to a preliminary report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development today. 
The report reads that 10 municipalities in the two districts were hit by the 90-km-per-hour tornado on March 31. It claimed 28 lives and left hundreds homeless in the southern Tarai plains.
According to the report, crops on 1,096 hectares of land were completely damaged and 1,728 hectares were partially damaged in Bara, whereas crops on 339 hectares were completely destroyed and partially damaged on 1,388 hectares in Parsa district.
The report also revealed that fruit orchards suffered the highest losses. "Fruits on 289 hectares of land amounting to Rs 297 million were wiped out by the rainstorm," it reads, adding that Bara district alone suffered losses of Rs 236 million. "Wheat crops on 2,791 hectares of land were destroyed."
The ministry estimated that the value of the wheat crops lost amounted to Rs 109 million. Bara alone suffered wheat crop losses of Rs 65 million. The rainstorm has partially and completely destroyed maize crops on 513 hectares of Rs 48 million, whereas vegetable and lentil crops were also damaged. "Some 10,494 head of cattle worth Rs 7.58 million were killed by the tornado in both districts."
The report has also recommended the government to support farmers with shallow tube wells, seeds, fertilisers and micro nutrients. It urged the provincial government also to provide additional subsidies on crop insurance.
According to the report, some 1,058 houses in two districts were completely destroyed, and the farmers’ food stocks were buried when the houses collapsed. "Two metal bins with a capacity of two quintals each should be provided per family."
Meanwhile, the government relief announcement and distribution has become complicated due to three tiers of government; federal, state, and local. Unlike in the past, the federal government cannot announce and distribute relief packages to the farmers directly as the law does not allow the federal ministry to announce and distribute relief packages or allocate a budget to provincial and local governments for relief distribution purposes.
The federal ministry has prepared a plan, in case local and provincial governments are not able to issue relief packages. "If they request, the ministry will table the proposal at the Cabinet to approve the required funding to distribute relief packages in the affected areas."
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has, however, projected that wheat harvest could exceed 2 million tonnes and set a new record this fiscal year, largely due to good weather during the growing season in the winter. Wheat is the Nepal's third most common cereal crop after paddy and maize.
Meanwhile, authorities in Bara have estimated the damage caused by the devastating tornado on March 31 stood around Rs 234.48 million. According to the data compiled by the Disaster Management Committee, some 16,449 persons of 2,493 households were affected. "At least 530 persons, including 275 women, were injured in the storm," it said, adding that around two dozen injured are undergoing treatment at health facilities.

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