Queen sends message of support to drought-affected Australians
She spoke of the ‘immense toll’ the drought was taking on rural communities.
The Queen has sent a message of condolence and support to those affected by the worst Australian droughts in living memory.
She said she and the Duke of Edinburgh were “deeply saddened” to hear of the ongoing extreme weather in eastern parts of the country.
The conditions in the state of New South Wales have been the driest and most widespread since 1965.
Farmers have told harrowing stories of failing crops, severe water shortages and being unable to feed livestock.
The Queen, who is the Australian monarch, said: “Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to hear of one of the worst Australian droughts in living memory.
“I know Australia as a land where extremes of weather, floods and droughts are taken in their stride, and life goes on with a stoic and determined spirit.
“It is clear, however, that the current drought is taking an immense toll, especially on those living and working in rural communities, who are, in so many ways, the very heart and soul of Australia.”
She praised those working together to help the people who have been affected.
“It is heartening and reassuring to see that families, communities and the entire nation are working together and supporting each other at this time of need,” the Queen said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the many individuals, families, communities and businesses who have been affected, and I send my sincere thanks to all those who stand shoulder to shoulder in their support.”
Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled a package of measures to assist farmers coping with the conditions.
Farmers in New South Wales have been given enhanced authority to shoot kangaroos, which are competing with livestock for sparse pasture, because of the drought.
The Queen is currently at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on her summer break.