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Farmers face a dry spell

26 April 2013

Farmers face a dry spell

So far in 2013, parts of Australia have faced floods and bushfires, and now some farmers are facing the prospect of another drought.

Salvation Army Rural Chaplains, Envoys Lloyd and Vicki Graham, are seeing families in northwest NSW start to face the same conditions and struggles they did during the 10-year drought.

While not yet as bad as the drought from 2000 to 2010, they are seeing different effects to the land, with dams that haven’t dried up in over a decade now running dry. “Seasons are different and water tables change,” said Mr Graham.

“The whole northwest corner of the state is going through what’s called a prolonged dry spell. It hasn’t been declared as a drought. There’s been some scattered thunderstorm activity over the past few months, but that’s been patchy.”

While the drought officially ended three years ago, families have only just started to get back on their feet financially.

“They just mentally don’t have the capacity to face up to another drought. As long as the dry keeps coming, more and more people are going to be suffering emotionally and financially,” said Mr Graham.

With the recent onslaught of natural disasters throughout Australia, there has been a strain on disaster relief funding, meaning assistance often cannot be given.

“I think most of the money has been spent, and wisely so, on the bush fires and floods. So at the moment, financially, we can’t help them,” said Mr Graham. “But we can provide emotional support – visiting families and making sure they’re ok mentally”.

For now, Lloyd and Vicki are assisting by referring people to services available to help them either financially or emotionally. Most importantly, they are spiritually supporting them during these tough times.

By Nathalia Rickwood

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