Why droughts are hazardous

Droughts, unlike earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are not a sudden hazard event. Instead, their beginning and end are hard to gauge and they can last for months and even years.

Approximately 780 million people worldwide lack reliable and sufficient water supply. This can have many serious impacts:

  • A lack of clean and reliable water can cause people in developing countries to drink contaminated water which could cause a range of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
  • Commercial and subsistence farmers can experience high crop or livestock losses and a reduction in the land's value. Subsistence farmers may experience famine.
  • With less moisture and rainfall, wildfires can become common, damaging crops, buildings and even causing death.
  • Businesses and services which rely on clean water may be closed, eg hospitals and restaurants.
  • Conflicts or war between people and countries can occur when pressure is put on water supplies. It can also lead to people having to migrate away from drought-stricken areas.