Australian state now "100 per cent in drought"

Tony Mahar

The Australian state of New South Wales has been declared entirely in drought.

According to Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair, the latest drought update confirms what many farmers across the state have seen, with only 0-10mm of rain recorded over the past month in the Western, North West and Central areas of NSW.

"There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities", Blair said in a statement. They were given permission to shoot kangaroos that may compete with their cattle for food during the intensely dry season.

Milne said Federated Farmers was exploring ways of supporting affected Australian farmers as many on this side of the Tasman felt helpless.

Australia has long dealt with harsh, dry conditions, especially inland, away from coastal areas popular with tourists.

The NSW Government has also doubled its funding commitments to struggling farmers with a total of A$1 billion pledged towards the growing crisis. Farm reservoirs have dried up and crops are failing.

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.

"This increase will give farming families what they sorely lack during drought-cash income".

Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne says offering drought-stricken Australian farmers an escape could do wonders for their mental health.

Turnbull addressed those concerns on Monday, announcing relief measures for farmers including extra money for mental health support services. In India, four indicators are usually applied to declare a drought.

The federal and NSW state governments are providing more than A$1.5 billion (S$1.52 billion) in drought relief packages, created to offset the cost of feed and freight, and increase access to mental health services for farmers feeling the strain.

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. Japan and Korea are suffering heatwaves and wildfires have blazed across California and Sweden.

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