OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Four years of continuous drought drives desperate farmers to suicide. Catholic Archbishop stresses the sacred value of life and calls on local authorities to provide adequate assistance for drought stricken farmers and families

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Canberra (Fides Service) - Life is sacred, it is the most precious good entrusted to our stewardship. Life is far more important that any material good and any harvest lost through drought. With these sentiments Archbishop Francis Carrol of Canberra president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference urged farmers not to despair because of drought and poor harvests and to avoid suicide at all costs.
In the diocese of Canberra, because a number of farmers have taken their lives because of worsening drought in what is reported the worst situation every recorded in this part of the world.
There has been a high incidence of particularly male suicides and many think this may be due to despair about the drought. After more than four years of continuous drought Archbishop Carroll says it has become a hopeless fight for some farmers. The Archbishop has called for a day of prayer for rain this coming Sunday in churches across the Canberra and Goulburn diocese.
The Archbishop has also urged local authorities to provide adequate assistance for farmers and the families affected by drought and food shortage.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 8/6/2005 righe 25 parole 256)