Drought

Authored by: Thomas A. Smucker

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698

10.4324/9780203844236.ch22

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Abstract

Drought is a complex hazard, the pervasive human impacts of which reflect the interaction of multiple physical and social processes. Unusual dryness may undermine a wide range of occupations and livelihood arrangements, endanger human and animal well-being and cause large economic losses. People have developed ways of living with episodic droughts, as they have also adapted to normally expected dry seasons; however, climate change, state policy, population growth and other factors are eroding the effectiveness of these traditional strategies. Nevertheless, because drought is both a cyclical event and a slow-onset hazard, there is great potential for progress towards drought risk reduction. Efforts to strengthen drought management and reduce risk will be most effective where proactive risk reduction measures take into account the multiple physical processes that contribute to drought impacts and the possibilities for building on established local strategies for managing landscapes and livelihoods impacted by drought.

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