Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 8:2 (June 2000), pp. 81–92.


Copyright © 2000 Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Used by permission.


Although drought is a normal, recurring feature of climate, little progress has been made in drought management in most parts of the world. A United Nations study of selected Sub-Saharan African countries revealed that most states have little experience in proactive planning for drought. Only Botswana and South Africa have made serious efforts to develop drought preparedness and response. The lack of contingency planning for drought events in the region results from limited financial resources, inadequate understanding of drought impacts, and poor coordination among government agencies. A ten-step planning process, originally developed in 1991 for U.S. states, is suggested as an organizational tool for Sub-Saharan countries to use in the development of drought plans. The process, which emphasizes risk management rather than crisis management, is based on three primary components: (1) monitoring and early warning, (2) vulnerability and impact assessment, and (3) mitigation and response. The steps in the process are generic; they can be adapted and applied to the various settings of Sub-Saharan Africa.