Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Drought: A Global Assessment, Vol. II, edited by Donald A. Wilhite, chap. 35, pp. 89–104 (London: Routledge, 2000).


Copyright © 2000 Donald A. Wilhite for the selection and editorial matter; individual chapters, the contributors.


Preparedness was defined in chapter 1 as predisaster activities designed to increase the level of readiness or improve operational and institutional capabilities for responding to an emergency. Drought preparedness has encountered increasing support from governments in recent years at various levels because of escalating impacts and the ineffectiveness and costs of emergency assistance programs that have little noticeable return. For example, between 1970 and 1984, state and federal government in Australia expended more than A$925 million on drought relief under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (Wilhite 1986). The Republic of South Africa spent R2.5 billion for drought relief from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s (Wilhite 1987). Both of these nations have now adopted national drought policies that promote self-reliance and more of a risk management approach to drought management.