Drought in southeast Australia worsens

Cristina Cross
August 10, 2018

The state government said that 100 per cent of New South Wales' land area of more than 800,000 square kilometres was now in drought.

NSW may call on the army to help drought-stricken farmers if the situation gets worse, the premier says.

With dry conditions forecast to continue for the next three months, farmers had to decide whether to continue the expensive and laborious task of hand-feeding cattle and sheep or sell their livestock. Others have been forced to shoot starving cattle.

"Anybody on the land that will make a phone call to the Department of Environment can get permission to shoot nearly whatever they want to shoot and it's unaudited and unchecked and that's our concern - animal welfare", Borda told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "They are shooting them because they just can't afford to feed them anymore", Tash Johnston, cofounder of Drought Angels NGO, told AFP news agency.

An old dead tree lies like a skeleton on the scorched earth in a property located to the west of Tamworth, a rural (and country music) center in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

The current drought on the continent extends beyond North South Wales, with over half of the neighboring state of Queensland also in drought, the BBC reported. The state governments would also be asked to submit reports on drought condition, so that relevant relief measures can be implemented.

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently said the USDA will act to assist farmers facing trade damage from "unjustified retaliation".

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The reason was the largest in the last half-century drought.

"We are the land of droughts and flooding rains". That event coincided with two El Ninos, which are often associated with droughts in Australia.

At the end of July, the state government increased its drought assistance to more than $1 billion dollars.

Others said it was too little, too late.

James (left) and Harrison O'Brien feed grain to hungry calves at the family's drought-ravaged farm in Five Ways in the middle of NSW.

Southern Australia has experienced near-record levels of dry weather; rainfall has been 57mm below average for the time of year.

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