Heavy hail and rain have hit Georgia’s Kakheti region destroying the watermelon and grape harvest, flooding houses and streets and damaging infrastructure.
According to the Center for Active Impact on Natural Events, 200 weather rockets were fired and although cloud masses were significantly reduced, it did nothing to help save the harvests.
Entire fields were wiped out in Kistauri, Akhshani, Matani, Shalauri, Kasiskhevi and Nasamkhrali during the 20-minute deluge.
“Everything that could be destroyed was destroyed,” said David Mamukelashvili, representative of the municipality in the village of Matani. “In total during this year, the hails have destroyed approximately 200 hectares of agricultural land.”
The Minister of Environment and Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili, said that negotiations are underway with enterprises which have agreed to buy damaged grapes from the farmers to make alcohol.
But local farmer Robert Khomizuri says 90% of his harvest is destroyed. He says the offer of the State to sell the damaged grapes will not work for him, as there is no harvest left in his vineyard.
“If they cannot give us compensation, they can at least give us pesticides which we need four times a year,” the farmer added.
The locals are adamant that anti-hail systems do not work, and instead demand the money should be spent on farmers.
“We will not stop. We demand the State looks after us and helps us. We are without hope, all our harvest is destroyed and we now face starvation,” local Giorgi Gabanashvili said.