12 January 2009 – Agricultural state of emergency due to the drought

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The government has declared an agricultural state of emergency due to the extreme drought affecting the country, following repeated demands from farmers. The interior and northeast regions of the country have been especially hard hit by the drought. According to statements from Agriculture Minister Ernesto Agazzi, more than 2.5 million hectares of crops and grasslands have been affected. The situation has been aggravated by numerous fires in forested areas and dry fields.

In urban centres there have been difficulties with the supply of drinking water due to the drought. According to figures from the government meteorological service, average precipitation levels in Uruguay in 2008 were only one half of the levels recorded in previous years. The recently declared state of emergency will facilitate the allocation of government emergency aid to supply feed for livestock and cheap electrical power to operate water pumps.