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Worst drought in decades hits Chile capital and outskirts

Officials in Chile say the capital city and its outskirts are suffering from the worst drought in many years.

The government has declared an agricultural emergency in many areas to try to fast-track a series of relief measures for farmers, including provision of drinking water and medicine for animals.

Santiago Metropolitan region, Coquimbo, Valparaiso and O'Higgins are among the worst-hit areas.

A resident rides his horse on the floor of the the Aculeo Lagoon lake bed, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Officials in Chile say that the capital city and its outskirts are suffering from the worst drought in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker said this week that 2019 is one of the driest years Chile has faced in six decades.

Officials are increasingly concerned by the effects of climate change after a long-drought. The world's leading copper-producing country uses large quantities of water for the industry, which is the backbone of the economy.

Chile will host a global conference on climate change in December.

Jorge Romero dismantles a relative home that once served as a resort, preparing the land for sale, near the now dried up Aculeo Lagoon, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

Cows graze on the floor of the the Aculeo Lagoon lake bed, as seen from a dock once surrounded by water, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world, Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

A dock once surrounded by water is seen at an abandoned Aculeo Lagoon resort, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world, Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

A vaquero stands watch as his cows graze on the floor of the the Aculeo Lagoon lake bed, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world, Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

The carcass of a cow lies in the on the floor lake bed of the Aculeo Lagoon, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

A boat sits parked the floor of the the Aculeo Lagoon lake bed, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Officials in Chile say that the capital city and its outskirts are suffering from the worst drought in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

A dock once surrounded by water is seen at an abandoned Aculeo Lagoon resort, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world, Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

A cow grazes on the floor of the Aculeo Lagoon lake bed, as seen from a dock once surrounded by water, in Paine, Chile, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Despite having one of the largest fresh water reserves in the world, Chilean authorities declared an agricultural emergency this week as rural areas in the province of Santiago suffer the effects of the worst drought that has hit the area in decades. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)