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Brazil's northeast struggles with drought

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - 01:34

May 8 - Residents in northeastern Brazil struggle to survive as a severe drought kills livestock, scorches crops and leaves lakes dry. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

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Learning to live without in Brazil. A severe drought hits northeastern Brazil, leaving a trail of death and despair. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) CATTLE RANCHER, JOAO NUNES DA SILVA, SAYING: "The drought comes in and the animals lose their energy and become weaker and weaker. Then they fall to the ground and once they are down they don't get up again, they survive for two or three days and we try to feed them on the ground, but they usually don't survive and end up dying." It is the worst drought in 30 years. The federal government announced a $1.4 billion-dollar package to help prevent droughts in the region and assist affected families. Lakes and water reservoirs have dried up. Families who live in remote areas some times have to walk miles just to get water. Crops have been scorched. Residents gather what they can. Little can be sold. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) 55-YEAR-OLD FARMER, JOSEFINA NOVAES, SAYING: "It is impossible to sell them, because the supermarkets only want quality products and the way this is, the supermarkets are refusing to sell them (crops)." 80 percent of the region has been struggling with water shortages. Local authorities have suspended water use by industries and launched an operation to truck in water to hundreds of affected towns. Weather forecasters predict the drought may last until October. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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Brazil's northeast struggles with drought

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - 01:34