Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in International Journal of Environmental Studies 36:1–2 (1990), pp. 41–54.


Copyright © 1990 Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, S.A. (Routledge/Taylor & Francis). Used by permission.


Drought affects more people than any other hazard, in both developed and developing countries, yet few governments have taken steps to prepare for it. This situation stems partly from the complex nature of drought, which affects various sectors of society in different ways, and partly from an inability or unwillingness of governments to accept drought as a normal part of climate, not as an extreme random event. Scientific and policy communities have become increasingly concerned about the inability of governments to respond to drought in an effective and timely manner, and some have called for improved drought planning and management. This paper discusses planning as a means to reduce societal vulnerability to drought and outlines an approach that governments and international organizations can follow to prepare for severe drought. The basis of this approach is a ten-step planning process created from recommendations made at the 1986 International Symposium and Workshop on Drought. The status of drought planning worldwide is also discussed.