Australia's most populous state entirely in drought

Some farmers have been forced to shoot livestock as grazeable land and crops become increasingly scarce

THE entire state of New South Wales is now officially in drought, following an extremely dry winter.

One of the driest winters on record has led to water shortages and diminishing food for stock across the state and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said producers were facing "very hard decisions".

The government would have been better off subsidizing professional shooters to reduce kangaroo numbers more humanely, he said.

The latest data released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries on Wednesday shows just how dire the situation has become in Australia's most populous state.

More than half of neighbouring Queensland is also in drought, while parts of Victoria and South Australia are also experiencing dry conditions. Drier than normal conditions are forecast in the coming months.

The money is meant to assist farmers who are struggling with failing crops, water shortages and the cost of feeding animals. Unable to feed their livestock, many have been forced to sell or slaughter stock, sending the cattle industry into a decline that could take years to recover.

Less than 10 millimetres of rainfall has been recorded in New South Wales over the last month
Less than 10 millimetres of rainfall has been recorded in New South Wales over the last month

Further deterioration in soil water availability prompted the drought declaration Wednesday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Eligible households will able to apply for two payments of A$12,000 ($9,000) to help them get through the drought.

The state and federal governments have provided A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding.

Though Australia has long suffered from spells of drought, other parts of the world are now experiencing extreme weather which experts say is evidence of the Earth's changing climate.

Global average temperatures are around 1°C higher than in the pre-industrial age, and rising at 0.17°C per decade, scientists say.

Heatwaves swept across Europe in July, leaving some farmers suffering drought conditions.

Countries worldwide are dealing with their own climate catastrophes.


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