By ELIAS LARI
MORE than 50 farmers from Keta and Mungupa village outside Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, have been hit hard by a sudden hailstorm over the weekend, The National reports.
The hailstorm and associated heavy rain lashed the area on Saturday, destroying food gardens, mostly fruit and vegetables for the town market.
Thirteen houses were also destroyed in the storm.
Cost of damage was likely to be several thousands of kina.
Two villages belonging to the Jicka Komopi clan had been badly affected during the three-hour storm which started about 4pm, villagers said.
The compact ice took two days to melt.
Spokesman John Herma, who is also a farmer, told The National at the scene yesterday that they were still trying to come to grips with reality that had been destroyed overnight.
He said the hard-working farmers had estimated losing at least K70,000 worth of fresh produce for the city markets.
Herma said they had planted a variety of food crops such as carrots, potatoes, broccoli, corn, lettuce and sweet potatoes, adding that vegetable farming was a costly business because of the various chemicals and fertilisers they had to buy for their crops and land.
He urged the government, through the national disaster relief office, to provide them some form of assistance so that they could buy new seedlings and chemicals to return to farming.
Meanwhile, Pr John Ku from the
He said it was the first of its kind for the villagers.
Ku said some people, whose food gardens were affected, would starve because in a month’s time, all food crops will taste sour and this will be very bad for the people.
He said people were still in a state of shock, trying to get over the disaster.