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Devastated Eastern Cape farmer counts losses after hailstorm

A devastated farmer described how it felt to lose hundreds of ostriches to a hailstorm in the small district of Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape

A devastated farmer described how it felt to lose hundreds of ostriches to a hailstorm in the small district of Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape

Published Nov 1, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - “It was horrific."

That’s how a devastated farmer described how it felt to lose hundreds of ostriches to a hailstorm that struck the small district of Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape last week.

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Grant Krige, the owner of Chelmsford Farm, said the hour-long hailstorm struck on Wednesday.

"I’m 54 years old and I have never experienced a storm quite as severe as that.

"We lost a whole lot of ostriches, about 450... the [hailstones] struck some of the birds' eyes and broke the necks of others. We also lost some of our goats and sheep, and the infrastructure was blown away by the storm," he said.

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With the area having been in the grip of a drought for the past six years, Krige said it was going to be a long road to recovery.

His 20-year-old son has been running the farm while he looks for other ways to earn an income due to financial constraints.

“We’ve been hit with the Covid recession, and payments from businesses and markets that we supply have been delayed. Where we used to wait for 30 or 60 days, now we have had to wait over six months. It’s just sort of a big ball that keeps rolling, and to be hit with it is heartbreaking and makes one think if it is worth it,” he said

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“It is going to take a while to recover, if we ever recover,” he said.

Cape Times

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