Hail Insurance’s Mario Winkler is familiar with natural disasters – the current drought is no surprise.
Wherever you look, lots of fruit in the local fields is literally burning before our eyes. The drought causes problems for nature and especially for agriculture. Although the name doesn’t give it away, drought – like many other natural disasters – is also covered by the Austrian Hail Insurance (ÖHV) and the numbers are worrying. “We are talking about damage of around 100 million euros across Austria this year due to the drought alone,” says Mario Winkler of the ÖHV.
‘Climate change in Austria has been noticeable for a long time’
Incidentally, the expert does not expect any improvement in the coming years: “The fact is: climate change, or global warming, has been noticeable in Austria for a long time. A constant increase in warm days, ie days with more than 30 degrees, and a lack of rain have enormous effects. They have tripled in recent years.”
Not just local – drought destroys areas
The problem: Unlike a local hail or thunderstorm, drought is a widespread disaster. Entire regions are affected here. And a trend reversal is currently not in sight. In fact, some experts believe this year could be the coolest summer in years. That doesn’t bode well for agriculture.
Winkler: “With climate change and drought, other natural disasters increase. So we expect more hail over the weekend as it cools down.” Events such as heavy rain also cause problems for farmers. “We urgently need to take countermeasures and get global warming under control. In Austria, we have to put the brakes on soil sealing, as this leads to a reduction in groundwater formation. We can now see what that means from the Austrian lakes and rivers,” explains Winkler.