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Natural Disaster


Drought occurs when there is not enough water to satisfy the normal needs of agriculture, livestock and human population. It is generally associated with arid or semi arid climates, but drought can also occur in areas of adequate rainfall.

Droughts have disastrous impact on an economy and can affect a very large segment of the society.

Drought may be defined as that situation in which there is temporary reduction in wateror where moisture availability is considerable below the normal amount for a specific period. Insufficient amount of rainfall and excessive amount of evaporation are the main causes of droughts. Droughts can cause death through famine.

Characteristic Features

Whenever the monsoonal rain falls the effect can be disastrous. There is scarcity of drinking water, crops die and people starve. The characteristic features of a drought are as under:

  • A drought build up over a period of time if it faces continuous scarcity of water generally due to the erratic behaviors of monsoons.
  • A drought can start any time.
  • A drought may have an abrupt ending after a long spell if it experiences good rainfall.
  • A drought may affect only a small area or a vast expanse of land.
  • Causes

    Droughts occur due to the following reasons:

  • In India droughts are generally caused due to the UNPREDICTABILITY and erratic behaviors of monsoons.
  • It may occur if the source of water supply for irrigation dries out.
  • It may be due to the low capacity of moisture retention by the soils.
  • Sometimes we do not have alternate sources of water other than rain and when rain falls, it results in a drought like condition.


    Droughts have severe consequences:

  • The crops fail and the entire society suffer due to shortage of food resources.
  • Lives tocks suffer due to shortage of fodder and many a time severe droughts claim the whole of the cattle population.
  • Droughts affect the chances of rural employment, which results in loss of income leading to poor purchasing power.
  • Agro based industries also suffer due to the non- availability of agricultural raw material.
  • National budget takes a setback, as the government has to spend more on organizing relief measures.
  • Prolonged droughts create famine- like conditions causing deaths due to starvation.
  • Drought Prone Areas

    India is one of the most droughts prone countries of the world. Nearly three-fourth of its cultivable land is affected by occasional droughts. On the western side of India, states like Gujarat and Rajas than are highly susceptible to droughts. Other droughts prone areas are Western Orissa , Chhattisgarh , Jharkhand , interior parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra, parts of Punjab , Haryana , Uttar pradesh ,Tamil Nadu ,Telangana and Ryalseema areas of Andhra Pradesh .

    Predicting Droughts

    The Monsoon condition is directly related to droughts situations in India. If the monsoon fails to arrive or is of poor quality, then a drought-like situation is inevitable. If we study the monsoon rainfall data over the previous years and analyse it, then it is fairly possible to predict the likelihood of droughts in certain areas.

    Drought Mitigation

    In order to minimize the affect of droughts, some long- term as well as short –term measures are o be taken.

  • Water storage dams and artificial lakes are to be prepared so as to store water for the days of scarcity.
  • Watershed management programmes need to be developed.
  • Measures to be taken to plant more trees and reduce forest woodcutting.
  • Droughts resistant crops should be grown in drought prone areas.
  • There should be improved water storage faculties to prevent evaporation and drip irrigation should be practiced.
  • In urban areas, wastage and misuse of water should be stopped.
  • Rainwater harvesting at home and schools should be done.
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