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Unprecedented hailstorm destroys almost all crop output in northwestern Armenia

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 17 and 18 August 2018, a hailstorm damaged almost all yield capacity in Shirak region of Armenia. According to the rapid assessment conducted jointly by the Armenian Red Cross Society and Shirak regional authorities, 2,202 households (approximately 9,900 people) in 11 communities were affected out of which 1,143 households from the three most affected communities lost from 80 to 100 per cent of their yield capacity. These include potatoes, vegetables, flax, cumin, lentils, peas, cucumber among others. Moreover, there were also few cases of damaged houses and cattle farm roofs reported, but not to a large scale.

The Armenian Red Cross Society together with its Shirak Regional branch conducted several meetings with regional authorities, obtained all available official assessment reports and in its turn organized needs assessment in some of the affected 11 communities. After meeting with regional government representatives and presenting ARCS`s planned activities, ARCS developed beneficiary selection criteria. Afterwards, ARCS assessment team had additional meeting with local authorities from the three most affected communities, and presented the selection criteria to them, based on which they were assigned to prepare a list of affected people/families. Additionally, ARCS organized a meeting with the Ministry of Emergency Situation and Shirak regional administration and agreed to share all information and coordinate activities in the affected region.

The situation

In August 2018, unprecedented hailstorm destroyed almost all yield capacity in Shirak region of the Republic of Armenia. According to official data provided by the Government, 11 communities with 2,202 households and over 780 hectares of agricultural lands were severely affected in the region.

In Arapi community, 185.8 hectares of potatoes, vegetables, flex, lentils, etc. were damaged. In Nahapetavan community, 25 hectares of wheat fields were completely damaged. Witnesses claim that crops were left without leafs after the hail, thus destroying the annual harvest. In Sarnaghbyur community, 127 hectares of cultivated land suffered damages by the hail. Damages to other communities count from 50 to almost 70 per cent for almost all types of crops.

It is estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture that the affected communities total damage adds up to 903.54 million Armenian drams (approx. 1.9 million USD). The provincial commission visited the disaster area, trying to estimate the amount of damage. The Government is committed to support the commercial losses reported by farmers. In addition to these losses, the rapid assessment teams found that home garden production was also affected, and impacting on household food security.