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Pedro Paniagua, of Cobella: "In a matter of half an hour, everything was flooded".

Storm in Spanish province of Huelva hits Campo de Lepe, Cartaya, and La Redondela

The storm that hit Lepe, Cartaya, La Redondela, and Ayamonte last Thursday has caused considerable damages to the residents of these municipalities of the Spanish province of Huelva.

As far as the agricultural sector is concerned, the damage to farms has also been significant. In the case of strawberries, the storm had arrived at a time when the farms had everything ready to start with the planting, according to UPA Huelva. They were flooded (in some cases, with up to two meters of water), and the ridges are unusable, so it will be necessary to wait for the water to be removed before the process can be restarted. This means that the planting will be delayed and, of course, that the start of the season will be affected.

In the case of raspberries and blueberries, the crops had been planted, so the plants have been underwater. This will alter the vegetative yield and take a toll on the condition of the plants and the production. Some plantations have been washed away by the water, so the damage to these crops is much greater.

The same is true for citrus and kakis, which had already started to be harvested. Many fields have been flooded, and excess water is seriously damaging for the production so that the harvest may be affected.

The rural roads that give access to the farms have also suffered serious damages and will impact the agricultural activity as it becomes a hurdle to remove the damaged materials and make repairs.

Moments of great tension and fear at the Cobella cooperative
Undoubtedly, the worst hit has been the municipality of Lepe, where the Cobella cooperative is located. This producer of berries, citrus fruits, kakis, and pomegranates has suffered severe material damage.


Cobella facilities, flooded by the storm.

The company was hit when about 30 employees were at work, and another 30 people were taking training courses. There were moments of great tension and fear.   

"For about an hour and a half, about 120 liters of rainfall per square meter were recorded," says Pedro Paniagua, manager of Cobella, which is part of the second-tier cooperative Onubafruit, "The torrential rains started flooding the warehouses, including the offices, and the administrative archives were affected. In a matter of half an hour, the first floor of the facilities was completely flooded. The water even overflowed the loading areas, seeping into the fruit handling and packaging area."

Cobella facilities, hit by the storm.

According to the manager of this cooperative, "the water was dragging pallets, containers and other materials, as well as around 40 or 50 workers' vehicles, parked nearby. We were cut off because we had no cell phone signal at that time, and the workers were in the lower part of the warehouse, so they rightly decided to take refuge in the higher parts."

Pedro Paniagua says that "now everything is full of water and mud, and it will take days to clean it all up, although fortunately there have been no personal injuries."

Cobella facilities, hit by the storm.

Although the damage is still being assessed, it is estimated that there are between 30 and 40 producer members of this cooperative with affected productions. "Some macro tunnels are totally devastated, as are some blueberry and raspberry plantations, which we were working on and of which we will lose some batches, as these had already been harvested at their optimum point of ripeness and cannot be handled. The heavy rains and hail have also impacted the citrus, pomegranate, and kaki fields, where harvest was also starting, so the start of the campaign will be delayed."

"This is a major setback, although we are very proud of our employees, who are working in an exemplary way to get everything back to normal as soon as possible. We are grateful to the partners, suppliers, and organizations that have contacted us to offer their help," says Pedro Paniagua.

 

For more information:
COBELLA
Avda. Blas Infante, s/n
21440 Lepe, Huelva. Spain 
T:+34 959 383 162
cobella@cobella.net 

For more information:
UPA Huelva
upahuelva@upahuelva.org
www.upahuelva.es


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