|[Published: Wednesday August 08 2018]
Drought hits Australia
NEWS SOUTH WALES, Australia 8 Aug (ANA) - 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" on Wednesday.
The state and federal governments have provided A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding.
"There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities," said NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair.
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.
"It's like you are in jail every day," Queensland farmer Ashley Gamble told the Nine Network. "You turn up here because you've got to turn up. It's just depressing."
Stock agent Simon Bourke told the ABC: "We're selling livestock we don't want to sell… down the track there's really not going to be too many cattle or sheep left." (ANA)
FA/ANA/8 August 2018--------