KHAR, Heavy rain coupled with hailstorm damaged standing wheat crop, vegetables, and fruit orchards in several localities of Bajaur tribal district late on Saturday evening.
Locals and officials said on Sunday that the calamity also killed several cattle and damaged a number of vehicles in Bajaur. They said rain and hailstorm were reported in Khar, Salarzai, Nawagai, Chamarkand and Mamond tehsils, but the worst-hit were the mountainous areas.
Farmers told reporters that the wheat crop, vegetables, and fruit orchards were mostly damaged by hailstones, which were very large in size, lasting for about one hour.
The rain and hailstones also blocked main and link roads. Inayat Kallay-Laghari Road remained blocked for several hours. The hailstones also damaged the windscreens of several vehicles.
Extensive damage to the wheat crop has disappointed the growers, who were expecting a good yield this year.
Taking to this correspondent on Sunday, the growers said the hailstorm also caused the death of several cattle in the Salarzai area as they were grazing in the fields when the hailstones stuck.
The district administration and local agriculture department officials said the calamity had badly damaged wheat crops, vegetables, and orchards on a vast area across the district.
The agriculture department officials said hailstorm reported for the second time in the current month could decrease wheat crop yield by up to 5percent in the region.
Meanwhile, people from different walks of life, including former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor Shaukatullah Khan, former MNA Shahabuddin Khan, PTI leader Usman Mamondzai, tribal elder Malik Sultan Zeb Khan, Javid Khan and JI MPA Sirajuddin Khan, expressed concern over the damage caused to the wheat crop, vegetables and orchards due to the hailstorm.
They asked the provincial government to declare Bajaur calamity-hit and extend financial assistance to the affected people.