Queensland mayors say the ongoing drought in the southwest will have dire consequences if the state and federal governments fail to intervene.

A catastrophic drought calamity is looming over an area of Queensland that’s almost the size of New Zealand, mayors warn.

The mayors say the ongoing drought in the state’s southwest will have dire consequences if the Queensland and federal governments fail to intervene.

The mayors of the Balonne, Bulloo, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie shires pleaded for help on Thursday.

“The mayors … on behalf of their respective communities beseech both the state and federal governments to immediately take steps to support our communities to address the catastrophic calamity looming as a result of the ongoing drought,” they said in a statement.

The five shires cover an area of about 261,000 square kilometres, which is almost as big as New Zealand.

The area has been experiencing heatwave conditions for months with consistently high temperatures and extremely patchy rainfall.

Two-thirds of the state is currently drought-declared.