Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Natural Hazards 13 (1996), pp. 229–252.


Copyright © 1996 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Used by permission.


Drought is a normal, recurrent feature of climate that affects virtually all countries to some degree. The number of drought-induced natural disasters has grown significantly since the 1960s, largely as a result of increasing vulnerability to extended periods of precipitation deficiency rather than be-cause of an increase in the frequency of meteorological droughts. This increase in drought-induced natural disasters has resulted in a considerable growth of interest in drought mitigation and prepar-edness worldwide. The purpose of a national preparedness plan is to reduce societal vulnerability to drought through the adoption of preventive, anticipatory policies and programs. This paper de-scribes a ten-step planning process that nations can follow to develop a drought preparedness plan. This process, originally developed in 1987, has been the basis of discussions at training seminars on drought preparedness for developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It has also been adopted, with appropriate modifications, by state or provincial governments and by municipalities. The process is intended to be flexible so that governments can add, delete, or modify the suggested steps, as necessary.