Drought is a recurrent phenomenon in Africa with occurrences noted over several centuries, varying in spatial extent and severity (Glantz, 2001; Nicholson, 1978; 1989). The impacts of drought are diverse occurring at several scales including at household, national, and regional levels. When droughts are coupled with poor mitigation strategies and lack of preparedness, accentuated periods of hardship can occur particularly for poor, vulnerable, urban, and rural areas (e.g., Glantz and Katz, 1985; Vogel, 1995; Davies, 1996; Downing et al, 1996). Dry spells, heavy rains, disruption to commercial farming, depletion of grain reserves and increases in staple food prices are some of the factors contributing to food insecurity in Southern Africa during 2002 (World Food Programme, 2002). Drought is therefore a multifaceted phenomenon, the consequences of which are the result of complex human and biophysical interrelationships. In this chapter these interactive dimensions of drought are traced for South Africa.
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