Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Planning for Drought: Toward a Reduction of Societal Vulnerability, edited by Donald A. Wilhite and William E. Easterling with Deborah A. Wood, pp. 425–444


Copyright Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987.


During the twentieth century, governments have typically responded to drought by providing emergency, short-term, and long-term assistance to distressed areas. Emergency and short-term assistance programs are often reactive, a kind of "band-aid" approach to more serious land and water management problems (Rosenberg, 1980; Hamer, 1985; Wilhite, et al., 1986). Actions of this type have long been criticized as inefficient and ineffective by the scientific community and government officials, as well as by recipients of relief. Long-term assistance programs are far fewer in number, but they are proactive. They attempt to lessen a region's vulnerability to drought through improved management and planning.