Mobs of emus have taken over the small mining town of Broken Hill in far west New South Wales, 19 August 2018. The native birds have been drawn to town in search of food and water as drought worsens, with the region facing its driest start to a year on record. Photo: ABC News

19 August 2018 (BBC News) – Large numbers of emus have been flocking to an outback mining town in New South Wales as Australia continues to struggle with extreme drought.

The flightless birds are desperately searching for food and water in Broken Hill, local animal rescue services say.

"They're actually walking down our main street. We're seeing mobs of them," wildlife worker Emma Singleton said.

Separately, the Australian PM has announced extra aid for farmers hit by the drought.

"I want to say to our farmers, we have your back," Malcolm Turnbull told reporters, as he announced a A$1.8bn (US$1.3bn; £1.03bn) increase in funds to help deal with extreme aridity in New South Wales.

Australia's most populous state, which produces about a quarter of the country's agricultural output, was officially declared entirely in drought on 8 August.

In Broken Hill, 935km (580 miles) west of Sydney, groups of emus have been seen "running laps of the main street, eating gardens and gate crashing football matches", ABC News reports.

Ms Singleton, who works for the Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals, said: "We've had 14 on a sporting oval. They've been out there for weeks - the locals in that area are giving them food and water." […]

Parts of New South Wales have had the lowest rainfall on record, with less than 10mm of rain recorded in some areas in July.

As well as failing crops, farmers there have been struggling to feed and water livestock. Mr Turnbull said some had spent as much as A$10,000 per truckload of hay just to feed their animals. [more]

Australia drought: New South Wales town 'mobbed' by thirsty emus

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