Extreme weather, hailstorm in China wrecks US$4 million lotus tourism park
Local government and insurance company had not decided how to cover project before disaster struck, says developer
A lotus park was destroyed by a hailstorm in Tanghe country in China, leading to huge losses for the uninsured business, local media said.
Most of the lotus buds and leaves were destroyed by hail during the stormon June 21, with losses estimated at 15 million yuan (US$2.2 million), according to the news portal Henan100.com.
Local farmer Li Fengrui sank 30 million yuan into the agricultural project that combines lotus cultivation and tourism. The 200-hectare site features more than 300 lotus pools of different sizes.
Li said her lotus plants had been growing for 60 days and required another 40 days to complete the growth of the edible lotus roots, but they were ruined by the disaster.
She had expected income of about 25 million yuan from the lotus park this year, but the hail storm may have wiped out half of that amount.
The hail also destroyed an estimated 800,000 yuan worth of damage to billboards, hundreds of metres of wooden walkways, six maintenance sheds and other structures.
“I planned to hold a lotus festival on July 9 (the birthday of Chinese Lotus goddess), but everything is in ruins now. I can’t possibly get everything fixed in time for that,” Li said.
A worker at the park said the sky turned very dark as the storm approached, before hailstones the size of dates pelted down for half an hour.
Li said she tried to insure the lotus plantation three years ago when she started the project, but the insurer said it did not have such a policy as lotus was not considered an agricultural product, but promised to study a possible solution.
The Tanghe county government held discussions and conducted research with to insure the crop this year, but no results were reached, Li said
She also said her mobile app weather forecast did not issue a hailstorm warning on the day.