A total of 800 municipalities in northeastern Brazil are in an emergency situation because of the drought, after the government announced Friday that 25 more cities in Pariaba state are in that plight.

When a city is declared in an emergency, the national emergency management agency must guarantee its population access to aid programs and must grant subsidies to farmers whose crops are damaged.

National Integration Minister Fernando Bezerra Coelho analyzed the situation this week at a meeting with regional lawmakers to formulate a plan of action capable of minimizing the effects of drought in the area.

The government made available to the municipalities an emergency line of credit worth a total of 1 billion reais (some $500 million) with subsidized interest, so that the money reaches the local economy.

In the state of Bahia, 2.7 million people have been affected by the lack of rain, according to Cordec, Bahia's emergency management office.

The drought is also parching municipalities in the states of Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte.

In all these regions, local governments have had to contract cistern trucks to supply the hardest hit cities with water. EFE