New South Wales, Australia’s most populous

state, New South Wales (NSW), is now entirely in drought, officials

have confirmed.

A dry winter has intensified what has been called the worst

drought in living memory in parts of eastern Australia.

NSW produces about a quarter of Australia’s agricultural output.

It was officially listed as “100% in drought”.

The state and federal governments have provided A$576m

(Pound 330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding.

Farmers have told harrowing stories of failing crops, severe

water shortages and being unable to feed livestock.

Some have spent up to A$10,000 per truckload of hay just to

feed their animals, according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Southern Australia has just experienced its second-driest

autumn on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with rainfall

57mm (2.24in) below average.

Less than 10mm of rain was then recorded in parts of NSW in

July, and drier than normal conditions are forecast in coming months.

Officials said 23% of NSW was classified as being in “intense

drought”, with the remainder in drought or drought-affected. But, the

problem is not confined to NSW – more than half of neighbouring

Queensland is in drought. Parts of Victoria and South Australia are also

experiencing dry conditions, the BBC reported.

Source: Oman News Agency