Agricultural Drought Risk Management Understanding the Hazard and Societal Vulnerability

Many people consider drought to be largely a natural or physical event. Although all types of drought originate from a deficiency of precipitation, it has both a natural and social component, tte risk associated with drought for any region is a product of both the region's exposure to the event (i.e., probability of occurrence at various severity levels) and the vulnerability of society to the event, tte natural event (i.e., meteorological drought or the drought hazard) is a result of the occurrence of persistent large-scale disruptions in the global circulation pattern of the atmosphere. Exposure to drought varies spatially and there is little, if anything, that we can do to alter drought occurrence. Vulnerability, on the other hand, is determined by social factors such as population changes, population shifts (regional and rural to urban), demographic characteristics, land use, environmental degradation, environmental awareness, water use trends, technology, policy, and social behavior, ttese factors change over time and thus vulnerability is likely to increase or decrease in response to these changes. Preparedness planning, risk assessments, and improved early warning systems can greatly lessen societal vulnerability to drought.

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