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Brazil declares new measures against drought
April 4, 2013, 5:04 am

President Rousseff has pledged $4.5 billion to combat effects of the drought

President Rousseff has pledged $4.5 billion to combat effects of the drought

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced new measures this week to combat an unprecedented drought and its impact on farmers in the northeast of the country.

The drought, which began more than a year ago, is believed to be the worst in 50 years.

It has severely affected several states in the northeast, some of which have not seen rain in more than a year.

Rousseff said more water tank trucks would be sent to the region and new cisterns would be built.

The number of tank trucks in the area will grow from 4,746 to 6,170.  The distribution of tanks is coordinated by the army.

In addition to 270,000 cisterns already built, 240,000 new ones would be made available by year-end, 130,000 of them would be delivered by July, said Rousseff.

Cisterns big enough for agricultural production and animal husbandry would be built as well, in order to prevent the significant loss of cattle, she said.

The measures come as part of the government’s plans to spend 9 billion reais ($4.5 billion) to alleviate the impact of the drought in addition to $3.8 billion already spent last year to assist 10 million people in the northeast.

Some $765 million of the additional funds will be used to extend until the end of the year the Harvest Guarantee program – which compensates up to $77 per month per family affected by the drought – and the Drought Stipend program which pays $40 per family.

According to the Ministry of National Integration, part of the fund would go to the Constitutional Fund for Financing the Northeast while $1.04 billion would be dedicated for the purchase of heavy machinery to be redistributed to 1,415 cities in the regions hardest hit.

Rousseff warned that Brazilians may need to prepare for the possibility of the drought lasting a long time.

Xinhua and Agencies

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