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Appeal launched as drought tightens grip

by Jessica Nairn and Chrissy Arthur, Thursday October 3, 2013 - 15:31 EST
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More than 60 per cent of the state is now drought-declared and that area is expected to grow if there is no substantial rain soon. - ABC

A state-wide appeal has been launched to raise money for Queensland's drought-affected farmers.

More than 60 per cent of the state is now drought-declared and that area is expected to grow if there is no substantial rain soon.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh today added parts of the Longreach Regional Council to the list of more than two dozen local government areas affected.

The Lions club wants to raise $1 million for graziers hit by the long dry spell.

North Queensland Lions president Brian McAtee says the situation for many families is becoming desperate.

"One lady said to me that somebody had turned up and left a couple of bales of hay and a few bags of dog food and some tucker for themselves," Mr McAtee said.

"She just cried for hours."

The drought has left valuable top soil exposed and gusty winds yesterday whipped up dust storms across the parched central west.

Karen Emmott from Noonbah south west of Longreach says it has been a long time since she has seen so much widespread dust.

"It descended with howling winds - they were making a great noise - and we were veiled in red dust for several hours," she said.

"Because the land is so dry with pretty much no ground cover - when you get a weather change like that moving through - the wind just lifts large clouds of dust."

Mr McAtee says the funds raised by the Lions will be distributed by Aussie Helpers which already operates in the drought-affected areas.

"They've got hundreds of people on the ground, all volunteers, they know who needs services and support and a lot of it's just moral support as well, just someone to talk to," he said.

"But they're out there - they do floods, fires and droughts and they're very, very good at it."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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