VILNIUS - The new government of Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas will be proposing to list Lithuania as a natural disaster zone due to a drought that has already caused losses of over 600 million litas (174 million euros). The Agriculture Ministry reported on Aug. 1 that it would present the government's commission on emergency situations with such a proposal.
"Upon assessing the current situation and data presented by the hydro-meteorological service, our task is to formulate a request to the government's commission on emergency situations to propose that the prime minister list Lithuania as a natural disaster zone," a press release cited Rimantas Krasuckis, director of the ministry's common market organization department, as saying.
If Lithuania is listed as a natural disaster zone, it would be possible to apply measures permitted by the European Commission.
According to procedures, additional national support requires consent from the European Commission, which is given only upon presenting well-founded arguments proving that farmers have suffered tangible losses due to a drought and need support.
Seven districts in Lithuania have been listed as areas of disaster drought. The northern Siauliai district was included in the list this week, following the listing of the southern district of Vilkaviskis on Monday. Districts of Silute, Panevezys, Birzai, Nida and Palanga reached the levels of critical drought last week.
Estimates suggest that losses suffered by Lithuania's farmers due to the drought exceed 600 million litas. The total losses will be clear in the fall after the harvest has been collected.
Lithuania intends to compensate part of these losses 's no less than 200 million litas to farmers.