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Georgia attacks the elements with rockets2013-05-20 17:31
No sooner had the state to pay damages to the Kakheti farmers whose economies have suffered from hail in the summer of 2012 as a new trouble broke out. And again the same disaster, so familiar to the Kakhetians. The government has calculated that it is cheaper to take steps in advance, using anti-hail rockets, rather than to deal with aftermath. The more that the Kakhetians after getting monetary compensation spent it in a rather strange way - they achieved their long-standing dream. For example, bought a Mercedes.
The rainy May brings Georgia nothing but troubles. Memories of last summer, when most of the eastern region has suffered from hail, are still fresh.
May of 2013 is no better. In early May the hail repeated in Kakheti. Five villages in Telavi were severely damaged. Peach orchards, crops, vineyards and vegetables were almost entirely destroyed. Mudslide caused by rain flooded the ground floors and basements. Hail destroyed infrastructure. Lots of small animals and birds died. Forecasters do not make hopeful predictions. They say that in the coming days Kakheti will suffer from the hail again.
Witty Kakhetians, trying not to lose heart, find the strength to make a joke. "It's okay if the new government pays us damages again."
However, this state of affairs plays into the hands of some unlucky farmers. Last year, some of them, instead of putting in order the affected farm, rushed to the car markets in Rustavi to spend the compensation and buy a Mercedes.
Last year, assistance to the Kakhetians was partially allocated from the personal funds of Bidzina Ivanishvili - the current Prime Minister of Georgia. And this year, the Government is carefully counting the amount of damage, and has even already allocated from the state budget 300,000 GEL. This amount will be spent on compensation for damage to the population and the restoration of damaged roads.
But, given the frequency of hail in Kakheti, funds from the state are not sufficient. Therefore, the Georgian government is seriously thinking about different ways to fight not with the consequences, and with the hail itself.
The struggle against the elements was very popular in Soviet Georgia. Soviet government actively used anti-hail means to reduce the damage to agriculture. Experts and farmers are for several years asking the government for such assistance preventing the destruction from the hail.
Kakheti farmers remember well the Soviet period, when there were special substations for protection from hail. Forecasters were conducting round the clock surveillance of the weather and at the slightest danger "bombarded" suspicious areas of the sky with anti-hail shells saving crops. Since then decades have passed, and the government of Georgia intends to return again to the introduction of this system.
Resident of Kolagi village, Nodar Kitoshvili: "My father, Nikolai Kitoshvili, in Soviet times worked at the anti-hail substation. I was a little boy. I remember how he was aiming huge rockets into the sky and shoot. Black clouds dissipated. If such a system is introduced again, I think we can finally breathe freely. Our labor has depreciated. We work in the vineyards, work hard, take loans from banks, make reliable forecasts for the future, and suddenly a downpour washes away all our efforts in 20 minutes."
Zura Gogiashvili, another villager, says: "The former minister and Batoni Bidzina Ivanishvili promised they would necessarily introduce anti-hail system. Batoni Bidzina told us this system would not bring harm to nature or to human health."