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Australia's most populous state '100 percent' in drought
10 August 2018, 08:40 | Edward Lowe
Kangaroos killing permitted after Australian state switches to survival mode
New South Wales was officially listed as 100% in drought on Wednesday, with 23% of the region deemed to be in intense drought, leading state and federal governments to offer A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding.
Cattle and sheep farmer Robert Lee says climate change is behind the drought crisis.
There have been reports of farmers shooting cattle and hand-feeding animals because the ground is too dry for grass to grow.
Less than 10 millimetres was recorded in the western, northwest and central areas of NSW over the past month and drier-than-normal conditions are forecast for the next three months across the majority of the state. "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.
Farmers have also had to ration water for their families and their herds because the dams on their properties are dry or almost empty.
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Australia has long dealt with harsh, dry conditions, especially inland, away from coastal areas popular with tourists.
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently said the USDA will act to assist farmers facing trade damage from "unjustified retaliation".
The Government has responded with a compensation package to help rural communities, including two lump sum payments worth up to A$12,000 for eligible households.
"We are the land of droughts and flooding rains".
Much of Australia's southeast is struggling but the state government said 100pc of New South Wales' more than 800,000 square kilometres was in 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.
"I think the only problem is it was probably a little bit late coming for some people".
"This increase will give farming families what they sorely lack during drought-cash income".
4 / 4 Some parts of New South Wales have experienced the lowest rainfall on record over the past year.
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