A severe drought has hit India following what is believed to be the first August without rain for about forty years.
GV: Damaged maize crops. (4 shots)
SV: Cattle razing on barren land.
GV: Bullocks drawing water from well. (2 shots)
SV: Farmers pulling rope drawing up silt from an old well.
GV: Bullocks pulling water from well and water being released into irrigation ditch.
GV: Withered millet crops. (2 shots)
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Background: A severe drought has hit India following what is believed to be the first August without rain for about forty years. India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, is worst hit with between sixty and seventy per cent its crops damaged.
SYNOPSIS: Despite a vast improvement in India's irrigation methods over recent years, summer crops are still dependent on the monsoon. This year, standing crops are withering from lack of rain. Maize wheat and sugar cane are particularly hard hit--and in some areas, cattle are dying from lack of water. However, India is unlikely to be threatened by an acute food shortage as after five good years of monsoon rains, food reserves are well over twenty million tons. But, despite announcements that there is no need to panic, many shopkeepers are reported to have started hoarding in anticipating of a bleak winter.
According to reports from hard-hit areas in Uttar Pradesh naked women are tilling the fields at night in an attempt to placate the rain God. Other farmers, however, are resorting to more practical methods and are trying to save their crops with well water. For many farmers though, the cost of diesel is prohibitive and so they resort to traditional methods of using bullocks to draw out the water. The government is trying to ease the situation by organising watches on the use of irrigation water and allocating as much electric power as possible to farmers for water pumps.