Government declares nationwide emergency situation over heavy rains
With Lithuanian farmers' losses due to heavy rains estimated at tens of millions of euros, the Cabinet declared on Wednesday a nationwide emergency situation in a move that will improve the country's chances of securing EU aid and will open the way for using the government's reserve funds.
"Preliminary estimates put farmers' losses at over 40 million euros and individual farms are in a difficult financial situation, which makes us think about compensating a certain part of the losses," Agriculture Minister Bronius Markauskas said during the Cabinet's meeting.
"We have information that the European Commission is ready to look for a possibility to help Lithuania and we believe that declaring an emergency situation will facilitate these tasks," he said.
According to the minister, the amount of rainfall in August and September exceeded the long-term average level by several times, flooding over 140,000 hectares of crops and preventing farmers from harvesting up to 50 percent of their crops in individual districts and over 30 percent nationwide.
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday that Lithuania would turn to the European Commission for aid to rain-affected farmers by the end of the week.
The Chamber of Agriculture estimates that farmers' losses may reach over 200 million euros.
More than one-fifth of Lithuania's 60 municipalities have declared an emergency situation due to heavy rains.