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AgriMin Daea says anti-hail installations operational but unable to stop 50 hectares of vineyards getting damaged

Inquam Photos / George Calin
Petre Daea

Agriculture Minister Petre Daea says that about 50 hectares of a vineyard plantation in the Urlati area, Prahova County, have been damaged to various degrees by the latest extreme weather phenomena, and although the anti-hail installation were operational their rockets could not stop the devastation in this area. 

"I am in Urlati, in a vineyard plantation that is about 100 hectares, and the half of it is damaged to varying degrees from 50 percent upwards. I saw the shoots that were shattered in contact with the hail, the rain and the obvious wind. Specialists have decided on the spot to start treatment with cupric substances to heal the wounds generating by the stripping away of the saplings. We are focused on vegetation and we will see the actual degree of damage. This plantation is not in danger. What's in danger is this year's yield," Daea told AGERPRES on Wednesday. 

He said the anti-hailing system was operational on Tuesday, April 30, with 16 rockets having been fired nationwide for crop protection, but the extreme weather phenomenon occurred at a much higher altitude than anti-hail rockets could reach. 

"The anti-hail installations were operational yesterday. As many as 16 rockets were fired, but unfortunately they could not stop the phenomenon, as this formation, the cloud that triggered this catastrophe formed somewhere 11,000 metres up in the air; the specialists say the rockets can operate up to 8,000 metres high. This was the first time that such phenomenon occurred. It was for the first time in Romania that hail struck before May 1. We had been ready since April 15, we activated the command centre, the launching points were activated, rockets were launched at all command points and the effect was this as nature was stronger than our science and our possibilities for intervention. Three rockets were fired in Vrancea County and the situation got under control, but here in Prahova t did not because they were on the same path with the tornado," Daea explained. 

Asked to comment on a post by Minister of the Environment Gratiela Gavrilescu, who complained about inefficient interventions with anti-hail rockets, Daea replied: "I do not comment on what the deputy prime minister says. I said what I found on the spot yesterday. Today I am on the spot. " 

As far as the state of agricultural crops is concerned, Daea added that they may be damaged in some areas, but he cannot provide information because checks were still being carried out at the scene. 

Environment Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu posted on her Facebook page on Tuesday a message publicly asking for the dismissal of those who did not intervene effectively with anti-hail rockets, given that the code orange weather warning issued by the National Meteorological Administration "was issued in due time." 

"Today, hail has ravaged the Dealu Mare area. Entire vine plantations and agricultural crops have been irreparably damaged over large areas. The torrential rain showers and hail blocked road traffic and streams of water penetrated into backyards and houses ... 
Why did not they intervene effectively with anti-hail rockets? I have inquired and found that the weather warning, code orange , had been issued in due time early by the ANM. I urge the immediate dismissal of those who did not meet their service duties! " 

The National Weather Administration issued on Tuesday after-noon code orange for hail, strong gales and torrential showers in the counties of Buzau, Prahova, Ialomita and Calarasi, where a tornado occurred as well.

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