Droughts

Stigter et al. (2007) have summarized contributions of the meteorological community to improved coping with drought in India supporting development efforts related to monsoon water use as a resource. Viet (2002) rates drought at a medium relative disaster rate intensity in the most vulnerable central highlands and the south of Vietnam. Changing cropping calendars and patterns appear the only solutions envisaged there in present planning exercises (Stigter et al. 2007). Sahni reports in Sahni and Ariyabandu (2003) that the High Powered Committee on Disaster Management of India has recommended that with the frequent changes in land use, irrigation development, cropping patterns and agricultural practices, it is necessary to frequently update mapping of drought prone areas for development planning.

ttis Committee also concluded that currently there is no operational procedure to forecast the impending drought conditions with respect to area of impact, extent and duration. Such difficulties were also among the reasons for the failure reported by Lemnos et al. (2002) to use seasonal forecasts for emergency drought relief in north-eastern Brazil. Stigter (2004) showed, however, that main bottlenecks here were insufficient considerations of the actual conditions of the livelihood of farmers and therefore the development of inappropriate support systems, ttis was in line with Walker's (1991) general conclusion that special government interventions in response to drought are fraught with inefficiencies and seldom do an adequate job of selecting for those in need. Sahni and Ariyabandu (2003) have examples in several chapters of local government and NGO development activities to prevent such errors in India by actually reducing local vulnerabilities.

ttis principle is independent of the hazard concerned but most literature examples are drought related. Mungai et al. (1996) illustrate such an approach in research education in semi-arid Africa. Abdalla et al. (2002) report on development related research on improved traditional storage of sorghum grain, quantifying and better understanding local innovations to overcome vulnerability to longer periods of drought in Sudan. Difficulties of development related farmer differentiation and upscaling related to such drought induced cases have been reported by Onyewotu et al. (2003) and Bakheit and Stigter (2004). ttese are all examples that bear lessons for Asia as well (Stigter 2001).

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