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AGRICULTURE MINISTRY OFFICIAL MEETS INSURERS OVER DROUGHT DAMAGE

 

Zsolt Feldman, state secretary at the agriculture ministry, on Friday had talks with representatives of insurance companies to ensure smooth procedures to indemnify farmers suffering damages due to droughts. The ministry said in a statement that nearly half of Europe was being hit by unprecedented drought, including Hungary where over 550,000 hectares affected. Many further claims are expected in the coming weeks, the statement added. Providing quick compensation to farmers is “in the interest of the whole of society”, the statement quoted Feldman as saying. The official asked the insurers to have sufficient staff to assess incoming claims.
Meanwhile, the national water management directorate (OVF) said it was preparing a watering schedule for the country, and asked the disaster management authority to help prevent illegal removal of water from rivers and reservoirs. According to a statement from the OVF, the whole of eastern Hungary was hit by a drought due to an increasing heat wave and lack of rain. Concerning actual operations, the OVF said ensuring the drinking water supply in Szolnok, in central-eastern Hungary, as well as the water necessary for the agriculture and the area’s ecology from the Tisza River and Lake Tisza. It said the situation called for “great discipline by users” because “unless they cooperate they will take the water available from each other”. Water management authorities are focusing on the River Danube, and Balaton and Velence lakes, the statement said, adding that currently water was being pumped into the Soroksár branch of the Danube. The water level in Lake Balaton was 86cm on Friday morning, 20cm lower than a year ago, the statement said, added that the difference was “not extraordinary”, the lake having seen lower levels “on dozens of occasions in the past 100 years”. The quality of the lake’s water is monitored every week, and the tests have not indicated any recent problems, the statement said. The water in Lake Velence has been aerated every day since Wednesday. The level of the water was 67cm on Friday morning, a mere 4cm above the lake’s all-time low, the statement said, adding that a new record low was expected. It added, however, that “it may be unpleasant for bathers, but it is a natural phenomenon, the lake being the kind that occasionally dries out”.