Ventspils asks to declare state of emergency due to drought

The local authority of the northwestern Latvian region of Ventspils has asked the Latvian government to declare a state of emergency in agriculture because of a prolonged drought, LETA was told at the local authority.

The regional council has received a letter, signed by ten farmers, calling authorities attention to the long period of drought in Northern Kurzeme. Farmers in the region can lose nearly all their spring crop harvest which is withering in the dry and hot weather conditions.

According to the data of the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center, Latvia received 9.1 millimeters of precipitation between May 10 and 20, which is 43 percent below the norm, and 2.3 millimeters of precipitation between May 21 and 31, which is 88 percent less than necessary for vegetation to grow as usual.

Vicaki, a place in Ances County last saw rain on May 2 and 3.

Representatives of the regional authority indicated that the dry spell had seriously damaged crops in large areas. Aivars Mucenieks (Greens/Farmers), chairman of the Ventspils regional council, said that the prolonged drought had affected the largest part of the 49,368 hectares of farmlands in the region and that members of the regional council therefore decided on Thursday to ask the Cabinet of Ministers to declare a state of emergency for a period of at least 12 months.

Members of the regional council are asking Latvia’s central government to provide financial support to the region’s entrepreneurs and local residents to at least partly compensate for their losses that have been caused by the dry spell.

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