High-rise buildings are seen through smoke from bushfires during sunset in Sydney, Australia. File photo/Reuters
Australia recorded its lowest level of rainfall for the month of November, the country’s weather bureau said on Thursday, as an unrelenting drought fuels deadly bushfires.
All of Australia received less than 50 mm (1.9 inches) of rain during November, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said, with parts of the west coast receiving less than 1 mm.
The dry weather extends a drought that has gripped Australia’s east coast for three years and left bushland tinder-box dry as bushfires rage across the most populous states.
Bushfires have killed at least four people and destroyed more than 400 homes since the start of November. Fires are still burning in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland states.
The dry weather is not expected to break for at least another three months, BOM said last week, heightening the risk of more bushfires.
With no rain relief, firefighters on Thursday continued to battle more than 100 blazes across the east coast and with winds set to strengthen authorities are worried the fires may spread.
“Today will be a long and challenging day,” the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said in a statement.
The crisis has put pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison as critics say the Australian leader has not done enough to address the impact of climate change, which meteorologists have said was extending the length of the fire weather season.
As well as bushfires, the dry weather has also had a devastating impact of Australia’s agriculture sector.
Australia’s chief commodity forecaster on Tuesday cut its wheat production forecast by nearly 20% for the year through June 2020, with output expected to fall to an 11-year low.
As Australian farmers were harvesting crops, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences pegged production of the country’s largest rural export at 15.85 million tonnes, down nearly 18% from its previous estimate in September of 19.2 million tonnes.
Wild weather systems have drenched the country’s east, prompting tens of thousands of evacuations, especially in the hardest hit state of New South Wales (NSW) where dams continue to overflow and rivers bulge.
Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in Perth, complicating a five-day lockdown imposed on Monday on the state capital after Western Australia detected its first coronavirus infection in 10 months.
The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) expects that the country during the month of January will see a number of surface depressions extending from west to east, and will occasionally be affected by the Red Sea depression,
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the governments and people of India and Bangladesh, as well as to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.
The authorities added that the medical teams provided the necessary first aid to the injured, and the concerned authorities began investigating the circumstances of the incident.
The victim stated in the investigations that the following day he discovered that his personal bag containing Dhs45,000 and his passport were missing together with another bag.
The NA on Thursday scrapped the voting right given to the overseas Pakistanis and the use of EVMs in the next elections. The PTI has strongly criticised the move and termed it a “regressive and condemnable act” of the government.