A relatively brief but violent hail storm Tuesday in the region of Velvedo in Kozani, northern Greece, destroyed an estimated 70 percent of the area’s fruit crop, according to local authorities, who said that the destruction has left farmers in despair.
The Farmers’ Association of Velvedo said the 15-minute storm decimated orchards with fruit trees, including peach, nectarine, apricot and cherry, adding that the repercussions of the damage will be felt for the next two years. An official estimate of the extent of the damage is expected on Wednesday.
“I’ve never seen such a disaster on our plain,” said the association’s president, Vasilis Tziouras. The bulk of Velvedo’s produce is exported to European and Russian markets, and now farmers fear they will be unable to meet demand.