Cover Image
close this bookPreparing for Drought: A Guidebook for Developing Countries (UNEP, 1992, 80 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentINTRODUCTION
View the documentCHAPTER 1 - DROUGHT: AN OVERVIEW
View the documentCHAPTER 2 - RESPONDING TO DROUGHT: CASE STUDIES
View the documentCHAPTER 3 - ADVANCING DROUGHT PREPAREDNESS IN THE 1990s
View the documentCHAPTER 4 - SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
View the documentReferences Cited

CHAPTER 2 - RESPONDING TO DROUGHT: CASE STUDIES

"Judging from past experience it would be unwise for the Botswana Government to perpetuate the type of ad hoc action which was characteristic of the pre-independence era. Planning must apply across the board [for all] natural disasters, including drought. There is no doubt that Government is fully aware of the need for and prepared to develop a long-term strategy to relieve the effects of drought in a coordinated and systematic manner. Government.. facilitates development planning, implementation and the creation of the necessary institutional network alleviating drought." (Molosi, 1979)

With the occurrence of any natural disaster come appeals for assistance from the affected area. Drought is no exception, but the characteristics of drought described in Chapter 1 of this guidebook make the provision of timely, effective, and coordinated response efforts a difficult assignment for most nations. This problem is especially evident in much of the developing world, where drought may occur in close association with economic stagnation, high population growth, declining food production, land degradation, and civil strife.

Historically, a wide range of response actions has been used by governments and international organizations to deal with the impacts of water shortages on people and various economic sectors. Parry and Carter (1987) have classified these policy responses of governments to climatic variations into three broad types: pre-impact programs for impact mitigation; post-impact government interventions; and contingency arrangements. Pre-impact government programs are defined as those that attempt to mitigate the future effects of climatic variations. Examples would include the Famine Commission of India and large-scale irrigation schemes. Post-impact government interventions refer to those reactive programs or tactics implemented by government when severe drought occurs. The implementation of these programs, which includes a variety of emergency relief programs, is largely the result of pressure by the public and the media on political officials. Many scientists, government officials, and recipients of relief have long criticized this approach as inefficient and ineffective. Examples of pre-impact programs and post-impact government interventions will be discussed in greater detail for selected countries in the next section of this chapter. Chapter 3 will present a methodology for drought planning that falls into Parry and Carter's third category, contingency arrangements.

During the twentieth century, governments in developed and developing countries have typically responded to drought by providing (or requesting from donor organizations) emergency assistance to distressed economic and social sectors (i.e., post-impact government intervention). Research has demonstrated that this reaction to crisis often results in the implementation of hastily prepared assessment and response procedures that lead to ineffective, poorly coordinated, and untimely response. This approach is well illustrated by the "hydro-illogical cycle" shown in Figure 2. As this cycle illustrates, drought is followed by a sequence of stages from "awareness" to "concern" to "panic." An alternative approach (and what is proposed in this guidebook) is to initiate planning between periods of drought (i.e., before the "apathy" stage in Figure 2), thus developing coordinated assessment and response programs that more effectively address longer-term issues and specific problem areas and eliminate the "panic" stage. This alternative would allow governments to allocate their limited resources for drought mitigation in a more beneficial manner. But, because drought is not as well understood as other natural disasters and its impacts are nonstructural and less quantifiable, governments have been less inclined to invest resources to develop well-conceived mitigation programs and contingency plans.

Deficiencies or inadequacies in previous governmental drought assessment and response efforts were highlighted by participants of the drought management and preparedness training seminars referred to in the introduction. Deficiencies were noted in the following areas:

monitoring or early warning systems, including the lack of appropriate indices;

data bases for assessing water shortages and potential impacts;

impact assessment methodologies, leading to untimely and unreliable estimations of effects;

data and information flow on drought severity, impacts, and appropriate policy responses between and within levels of government and to the private sector;

implementation of drought assistance;

targeting drought assistance to vulnerable population groups and economic sectors;

allocation of scarce financial and human resources;

emphasis on post-impact government interventions (i.e., short-term emergency programs) rather than more proactive (pre-impact) programs aimed at reducing societal vulnerability;

institutional and other contingency arrangements directed toward mitigating drought impacts and conflicts between water users;

coordination of the drought policy and plan objectives with other governmental policies and programs (e.g., long-term development goals) and emergency drought relief.


Figure 2. The hydro-illogical cycle illustrates the typical approach used by governments to respond to drought, crisis management (Wilhite, 1990).

This list of deficiencies is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather is given to illustrate some of the problems that have characterized previous attempts by government to assess and respond to drought. The discussion below provides a more complete view of these deficiencies in specific settings.

Government Drought Assessment and Response Efforts: Case Studies

Recurring drought has resulted in the piecemeal development of assessment and response programs in many countries. The principal features of these programs can be grouped into three categories: organizational, response, and evaluation (Table 2). These categories were used to compare drought policy in the United States and Australia (Wilhite, 1986) to learn more about how these two drought-prone nations have coped with the effects of drought. Organizational features are planning activities that provide timely and reliable assessments, such as a drought early warning system, and procedures for a coordinated and efficient response, such as drought declaration and revocation. These characteristics would be the foundation of a provincial, regional, or national drought plan and are operational in many countries. Response features refer to assistance measures and associated administrative procedures that are in place to assist individual citizens or businesses experiencing economic and physical hardship because of drought. Numerous assistance measures are available in the United States, but few are intended specifically for drought. Table 3 lists the federal assistance programs used during the 1976-77 drought, a major event that affected a significant portion of the country (see Figure 1). Until recently, relief arrangements in Australia were included, for the most part, under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangement (NDRA) agreements. Drought is no longer included under these agreements; instead a new national drought policy (which will be discussed in a later section of this chapter) has been instituted. Relief measures, by state, used during the 1982-83 severe drought in Australia are illustrated in Table 4. Tables 3 and 4 are intended to depict the wide range of assistance measures that have been employed historically in both countries. The types of assistance programs used in response to drought in Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Brazil, India, South Africa, the United States, and Australia are discussed in the next section of this chapter.

Evaluation of organizational procedures and drought assistance measures in the post-drought recovery period is the third category of drought policy features. It is critical that governmental response efforts be evaluated during the post-drought period in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes during subsequent droughts. This evaluation is best performed by a nongovernment organization, such as a university or private research group, that will be unbiased in their assessment. In Australia, governments have been more conscientious in their evaluation of drought response efforts. In the United States, the federal government has not routinely evaluated the performance of response-related procedures or drought assistance measures. Aspects of the 1976-77 drought were evaluated by the General Accounting Office (1979) and Wilhite et al. (1986). A partial examination of public and private sector response to the 1987-89 droughts was completed recently by Riebsame et al. (1990). Post-drought audits have been used effectively by some of the countries discussed in this chapter.

Table 2. Comparison of Drought Policy Features: United States and Australia-Status as of 1984.

Features

United States

Australia

ORGANIZATION:



National drought plan

None

Study in progress

State drought plans

In selected states

Through NDRA agreements

National drought early warning system

Joint USDA/NOAA Weather Facility

Bureau of Meteorology

Agricultural impact assessment techniques

Available, but generally unreliable

Not available

Responsibility for drought declaration

Federal

State

Geographic unit of designation

County

Unit varies between states

Declaration procedures

Standard for all states, varies by program/agency

Varies between states; standard within states

TABLE 3. Drought-related federal assistance programs used to respond to the 1976-77 drought in the United States, by Agency (Wilhite, 1986).

Agency

Program Name



Department of Agriculture






Farmers Home Administration (FmHA)

Emergency Loans*
Emergency Livestock Loans
Farm Operating Loans
Farm Ownership Loans
Soil and Water Loans
Irrigation and Drainage Loans
Community Program Loans





Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS)

Emergency Conservation Measures
Emergency Livestock Feed
Agricultural Conservation*
Disaster Payments





Federal Crop Insurance Corp (FCIC)

Federal Crop Insurance*





Forest Service (FS)

Cooperative Forest Fire Control
Cooperative Forest Insect and Disease Management
Rural Community Fire Protection
Drought-Related Stewardship





Soil Conservation Service (SCS)

Great Plains Conservation
Resource Development and Conservation
Conservation Technical Assistance
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention



Department of the Interior






Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec)

Emergency Fund
Drought Emergency*
Drought-Related Technical Assistance





Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Grazing Privilege
Drought-Related Stewardship





Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Drought-Related Stewardship





Southwest Power Administration

Emergency Electric Service*



Economic Development Administration (EDA), Department of Commerce

Community Emergency Drought Relief
Economic Adjustment
Public Works Impact Projects



Small Business Administration (SBA)

Emergency Drought Disaster Loans*
Physical Disaster Loans
Economic Injury Disaster Loans



Federal Disaster Assistance Administration (FDAA), Department of Housing and Urban Development

Disaster Assistance (Hay Transportation, Cattle
Transportation, Emergency Livestock Feed, Forest Fire Suppression)



Federal Power Commission/Federal Energy Administration (FPC/FEA)

Drought-Related Services and Activities



Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Department of Labor

Unemployment Insurance Grants to States
Farm Workers
Comprehensive Employment and Training Programs (CETA)
Employment Services



General Services Administration (GSA)

Donation of Federal Surplus Personal Property
Sale of Federal Surplus Personal Property



Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA), Department of Defense

Civil Defense-Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation

TABLE 4. Drought relief measures available in Australia under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements, by state, as of March 1983 (Wilhite, 1986).

Measure

New South Wales

Victoria

Queensland

South Australia

Western Australia

Tasmania

Northern Territory

Concessional Loans








Carry - On Loans to Primary Producers

*

*

*

*

*

*

*


(Maximum amount ranges from $20,000-$40,000, with interest at 4%. Repayment period generally 7 years with discretional repayment holiday of 1-3 years in some cases).

Restocking Loans to Primary Producers

*

(1)

*

(1)

(2)

(1)

NA


(Maximum amount ranges from $20,000-$30,000; repayable over 7-10 years, at 4-5% interest rate.)

Loans for Purchases of Fodder

*

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA


(Loans to dairy companies, repayable over 5 years, at 4% interest rate.)

Loans for Supply of Water

NA

NA

(2)

NA

NA

NA

NA


(80% of cost to local authorities for augmentation of town water supplies. Repayable over 7-9 years at 3-4% interest rate.)

Carry-On Loans for Small Business

NA

*

(2)

*

*

NA

NA


(Maximum amount of $40,000, repayable over 7-10 years at 4% interest rate.)

Loans to Cereal Growers

(2)

NA

NA

NA

(2)

NA

NA

Freight Concessions








Stock Movement

*

4

*

*

*

NA

*


(Applies to rail and road at 75%.)

Fodder

*

*


*

*

NA

*


(Applies to rail and road, generally at 50-75% concession.)

Water to Primary Producers

*

*

*

*

NA

NA

NA


(Applies to private vehicle, generally at 75% concession.)

Water to State, Local or Semigovernment Authorities

NA

*

*

*

*

NA

NA

Machinery and Equipment

NA

NA

(2)

NA

NA

NA

NA

Stock Slaughter Subsidy for Primary Producers

(2)

NA

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)


(Generally $10-15 per head for cattle and $1-3 per head for sheep.)

Stock Disposal Subsidy to Local, State and Semigovernment Authorities

*

*

*

*

*

NA

NA


(Generally $1 per head for cattle and 15 cents per head for sheep.)

Other Subsidies








Water

*

*

(2)

*

(2)

NA

NA


(Generally applies to drilling wells for towns or stock water at 75-100% concession.)

Agistment

NA

(2)

(2)

NA

(2)

(2)

NA


(Rate of $1.00-$1.75 per head for cattle and 10-12.5 cents per head for sheep and/or 50-75% of cost of adjustment.)

Other

NA

(2)

(2)

NA

(2)

NA

NA

* - Included in core measures
NA - Not available.
(1) - Included in carry-on loans.
(2) - Available but not part of core measures.

The approaches and types of programs implemented in response to drought in Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Brazil, India, and South Africa are discussed here and depict a reactive or crisis management approach in most instances. These examples are extracted from case studies presented at the training seminars and from the literature. Case studies of recent trends in preparedness in the United States and Australia, two drought-prone countries with a long history of government interventions, will be presented to further illustrate the traditional reactive approach. All of these examples, however, portray an emerging trend toward drought preparedness. The principal components of drought policy presented above should be considered when reviewing these case studies.

Zimbabwe

The drought of 1981-82 through 1983-84 was the most severe on record in Zimbabwe. Although droughts are not an uncommon occurrence, never before in the historical record had the country experienced three consecutive years of rainfall deficiencies of such magnitude. Because of the duration and intensity of the drought, it tore at the social, economic, political, and environmental fabric of the country. The greatest impacts were in the agricultural sector, on which 80 percent of the population depends for survival (Makarau and Marume, 1989). The livestock industry was the first to be affected because it is the predominant economic activity in the most drought-prone portion of the country. As the precipitation deficiencies continued, virtually all agricultural crops were affected, particularly during the 1982 and 1983 harvest seasons. Recent trends toward substituting less drought - resistant crops such as maize for mhunga, rapoko, and sorghum aggravated the situation.

Clearly the nation was not prepared to respond to drought at its onset. The first indication of impending problems came in 1981, when the Crop Forecasting Committee warned that food shortages would occur. The infrastructure and actions that followed were a reaction to that forecast. The Cabinet Committee on Drought Relief was established and included representatives of nine ministries (Makarau and Marume, 1989). This committee was charged with the task of formulating policies and recommending ways of providing emergency relief to those areas in the country that experienced problems. The administrative structure that resulted extended from the cabinet to the village level; drought relief efforts at the provincial level were coordinated by provincial administrators (Figure 3). The primary instruments of relief were food distribution programs, drilling of wells, construction of dams, cattle rescue operations, and public works programs. Free food programs were used initially but were discovered to have a deleterious impact by creating dependency on the government; thus these were soon replaced with food-for-work programs. The government also established a pricing program for small grain crops that provided incentives for farmers to produce drought-resistant crops (and therefore a disincentive for maize production). Other programs used included supplementary feeding programs for children and the provision of seeds, fertilizer, and draught power to farmers. Drought relief programs were financed by a tax levied by the government.


Figure 3. The administrative structure developed in Zimbabwe in response to the 1981-84 drought (Makarau and Marume, 1989).

The government's reaction to drought revealed several serious problems (Makarau and Marume, 1989). First, government officials lacked the training necessary to successfully manage the drought response program, particularly since no advance planning had been completed. The response program was also highly politicized and corrupt. Second, weather information was not used in the decision-making process for calculating food supply forecasts and food importation needs because this information was unavailable to decision makers. Third, as the drought persisted, obstacles to the effective operation of the relief program became obvious. For example, communal farmers wanted to maintain large cattle herds on farms, which in turn led to the deterioration of the range. The vehicle fleet and the road network were inadequate to distribute food to those in need in a timely manner. Food storage facilities were located in larger cities, further aggravating the distribution problem. The government also had problems in determining who needed food aid and in maintaining a balanced food nutrition program for those receiving assistance.

Makarau and Marume (1989) noted a wide range of lessons learned as a result of Zimbabwe's recent experience with drought. These lessons were:

Government must be prepared to deal with future episodes of drought. It should begin by educating the nation about drought and its impacts;

Incentives are an effective way of encouraging specific actions by farmers such as the production of drought-resistant crops;

Grain storage facilities should be located in each district to reduce distribution problems and transport costs;

An administrative structure that extends from the cabinet level to the village must be maintained and must incorporate resources of governmental and nongovernmental organizations;

Public works projects are an effective method of improving communities, thus avoiding overdependence on the government;

Surface and subsurface water supplies must be developed to provide resilience during drought-related water shortages;

An integrated approach to development must be initiated from the rural communities upward;

The value of climate information for use in rural and urban planning, rural resettlement, drought relief, irrigation and water resources development, and agricultural land use has been accepted by the government;

The rational use of natural resources, preserving them for future generations, has been reinforced.

The Zimbabwe government can build on these experiences to prepare for future episodes of drought. However, institutional memory is short and interest in drought planning quickly wanes following the return of normal rainfall. An important lesson for all governments is to should proceed swiftly to develop a drought plan before the attention of political officials and other policy makers is diverted to other issues. If this occurs, the onset of the next drought will find the country once again ill-prepared to respond effectively.

Philippines

In the Philippines, drought usually begins in the southern portion of the country. Its occurrence is associated with the El Nihenomenon, an event that has occurred five times in the past two decades. The drought of 1987-88 was quite serious; 46 of the country's 78 provinces were proclaimed by presidential declaration to be in calamity, compared with only 16 and 5 in 1989-90 and 1991, respectively. Drought severely affects agriculture, particularly the planted acreage and yields of paddy rice, corn, and sugar. It also has a significant impact on rice stocks (Lalap, 1991).

Although drought occurrence is not unusual in the Philippines, governmental efforts to mitigate its effects are relatively new. Most of the mitigation efforts have been directed toward the agricultural sector since farmers represent the most vulnerable population group. The government has also increased these efforts by providing early warning of drought conditions and the potential impacts of water shortages on agriculture (Jose, 1991a; Jose et al., 1991).

An institutional structure was developed in 1987-88 in the Philippines under the leadership of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). Based on the recommendation of the chairman of this council, the president of the Philippines is responsible for declaring a State of Calamity in the affected areas (Lalap, 1991). This proclamation enables the government to provide assistance to those affected by drought by controlling overpricing and preventing hoarding of prime commodities, delaying payment of taxes and amortizations owed to the government, and the release of monies in the Calamity Fund. The Department of Agriculture is responsible for administering the rehabilitation program. Through this program, farmers are given resource inputs such as seeds and fertilizers.

The NDCC is chaired by the secretary of defense and is composed of senior policy officials of 18 government agencies and the Philippine Red Cross. This council coordinates the mitigation efforts of government and related preparedness activities (Lalap, 1991). The concept of the NDCC is duplicated at the regional and provincial levels.

The Inter-Agency Committee on Water Crisis Management is charged with the responsibility of water management during drought periods, including the setting of priorities on water use. This committee was created in 1987 and meets regularly during periods of crisis to monitor water supply and set priorities. Reports issued routinely on water supply or forecasts by existing federal agencies, such as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), are forwarded to this committee for consideration. Recommendations are transmitted to the NDCC for further action. Each of the states and the public are kept well informed of the potential impacts of drought through advisories issued by government agencies. The media are also key components of the government's public awareness program.

Other actions or programs implemented by the Philippine government in response to drought include crop insurance, cloud seeding, irrigation development, and watershed management and erosion control through agroforestry projects. The government has also undertaken specific policy reforms that include stiff penalties for hoarding rice during periods of rising prices due to shortages. Importation of rice and corn is used to help control prices and to increase buffer stocks (Lalap, 1991).

In the future, the Philippine government hopes to improve mitigation efforts through the following actions (Lalap, 1991):

Improve the data base for agricultural statistics at the provincial rather than regional level;

Expand funding for the cloud seeding program and improve estimation of the effectiveness of these operations;

Improve crop programming (i.e., crop selection by region, strategic crop planning strategies during drought periods) as an aspect of disaster planning through better integration of information on drought and typhoon occurrence;

Improve assessment of farmers at risk to assist in the disbursement of drought assistance:

Implement comprehensive public awareness programs on irrigation management and water and energy conservation.

In May 1991, with support from the World Meteorological Organization and other groups, the Philippine government organized the National Workshop on Drought Planning and Management (Jose, 1991b). The objectives of the workshop were to:

(1) evaluate government responses to past drought;

(2) identify information needs and opportunities that can be used in improving the national ability to assess and respond to droughts;

(3) determine the need for developing more effective drought monitoring and mitigation strategies and define ways of promoting the formulation of strategies;

(4) review policies, approaches, and actions effectively used by other nations to mitigate drought and reduce impacts; and

(5) initiate the formulation of a national drought policy and plans.

At the conclusion of the workshop, members of principal government agencies were selected and charged with the task of preparing a resolution on the development of a national drought policy. On completion, this resolution was presented to the Department of Agriculture for consideration and implementation.

Brazil

The northeast region of Brazil is often referred to as the drought polygon, a vast region of semiarid climate located between two humid zones. Governmental attempts to alleviate drought have been an important part of the history of this region, dating back to 1877-79, when the Imperial Inquiry Commission was created to respond to staggering social and economic impacts (Pessoa, 1987). Drought policy has evolved through six phases since the formation of this commission, becoming more complex and integrated with each new phase (Magalh et al., 1992). The six phases were (1) study phase, 1877-1906; (2) engineering and water resources phase, 1906-45; (3) ecological phase, 1945-50; (4) economic development phase, 1950-70; (5) socioeconomic development phase, 1970-90; and (6) sustainable development phase, 1990-present.

The evolution of drought policy in the northeast region began (Phase 1) with the construction of reservoirs and canals, well drilling, and the creation of ports and roads. A few attempts to provide food supplies for residents had little success. An institution created in 1909 (National Department for Drought Relief Works, DNOCS) was given the responsibility to develop a water supply infrastructure for the region (Phase 2). Today, reservoirs in the region have a total storage capacity of more than 22 billion cubic meters. These reservoirs provide water for various farm activities, including irrigation. DNOCS still exists and continues its mission to develop the region's water resource. The ecological phase (3) began in 1945 in an attempt to implement strategies to make farm production more resilient during drought through the introduction of more resistant crops. During the 1950s, an attempt was made to couple industrial development with regional agricultural development (Phase 4). The substance of this plan was contained in a plan of action that promoted industrialization, agricultural production, and land settlement. This plan created several new organizations, including the Sao Francisco River Power Company, Sao Francisco Valley Development Company (CODEVASF), Bank of the Northeast of Brazil (BNB), and Superintendency for the Development of the Northeast (SUDENE). During the 1960s, SUDENE was responsible for expanding existing monitoring networks, conducting hydrogeological research and integrated studies of potential natural resources, and mapping soil and mineral resources (Pessoa, 1987). SUDENE continued to be one of the region's primary development agencies until 1964, when a change in federal policy reduced its authority. At that time, a greater emphasis on the development of the Amazon region detracted from the development of the northeast. The eradication of poverty became the thrust of Phase 5 during the early 1970s. This phase was associated with the establishment of rural development strategies such as Project Northeast. Phase 6 began around 1990 and emphasizes development that is both ecologically and socioeconomically sustainable. The belief is that this approach, ultimately, will reduce vulnerability to drought in the region. The program thrusts of each of these phases have been implemented to reduce the devastation that drought inflicts on residents of the region. Although each has been important to the development of the northeast, these approaches have not solved the drought-related problems that exist.

In spite of the long history of actions taken to respond to drought in northeast Brazil, the severe drought of 1979-83 found the region even more vulnerable to water shortages (Pessoa, 1987). Government response to this drought resulted in the rebirth of what has been commonly referred to as the "drought industry" of the region, essentially the abuse and corruption associated with emergency intervention programs. In 1985 the Civil Defense Plan was developed under the regional leadership of SUDENE to address both drought and flood problems. The purpose of the plan was to reduce the risks and impacts and provide aid as necessary. The plan also triggers a drought watch system that produces more detailed climatological analyses and advisories.

Under the National Civil Defense System, the primary emphasis was to provide jobs (Magalh et al., 1992). Assistance programs have been of two types (Pessoa, 1987). First, rural credit, water supply, and food distribution programs are expanded to meet the needs of the distressed area. Second, public works projects are initiated to employ rural refugees in a variety of tasks, including:

· building water structures
· transporting water supplies via tank trucks
· providing reasonably priced staple food items
· distributing food to ease social tension
· planting trees
· distributing fodder
· supplying seeds
· supporting small irrigation operations
· distributing construction equipment
· supporting literacy programs.

One of the goals of the public works programs is to reduce the drought-related migration of people from rural to urban areas within and outside the region and to interior locations. This has been one of the most serious impacts of previous droughts in the northeast.

After more than a century of drought policy development in the northeast, the intermingling of emergency and permanent action projects has often resulted in conflict and competition for the same human and financial resources (Magalh et al., 1992). It is now realized that emergency programs must be integrated with permanent, long-term programs. This approach will not only reduce competition for human and financial resources between the two types of programs, but emergency programs can be used to foster the objectives of long-term development programs (Magalh et al., 1988).

The recurrence of drought in 1987 provided an opportunity for government to apply these lessons. The state of Cearesigned and implemented a response plan that incorporated the following elements (Magalh et al., 1992):

emphasis on projects that would provide immediate public benefits, chosen by communities but in harmony with long-range plans and programs;

provisions targeting vulnerable population groups in need of development aid;

emphasis on emergency programs that would foster achievement of state development plan objectives;

programs or projects that avoided remanifestation of "drought industry" and political manipulation;

ensured community participation in work project selection;

payment of fair market wage to labor for public works projects.

All state government agencies participated fully in program planning and implementation. An interagency coordinating group was created to ensure technical coordination. The result of this response was successful, avoiding increased migration rates while maintaining health and nutrition indicators. The two main problems that emerged were funding and institutional deficiencies.

Largely as a result of these continuing problems, several institutions organized a drought management and preparedness training seminar in 1989 in conjunction with the University of Nebraska's International Drought Information Center.2 The following conclusions were reached by participants of this regional seminar regarding previous response efforts and current vulnerability to drought (Banco do Nordeste, 1991).

Drought unveils preexisting poverty conditions confirming that the benefits of economic progress have been withheld for the majority of the population;

Economic, social, and environmental impacts of drought emphasize the necessity of a permanent drought policy to reduce these impacts;

The most vulnerable persons to drought in the northeast region are small farmers and rural workers, representing the majority of the population;

Previous actions in response to drought emergencies have reduced impacts but have not reduced vulnerability;

Previous attempts to manage drought have had both successes and failures. However, the lack of continuity of programs, institutional deficiencies, lack of integration between levels of government, and lack of regional cooperation and coordination have been the major factors hindering the effectiveness of previous response activities;

Deficiencies of data collection networks for hydrometeorological and upper air variables and the lack of adequate information delivery systems continue to exist;

Drought research programs are poorly organized and coordinated;

Emergency response actions for drought are in conflict with long-term regional economic development plans.

2 This seminar was sponsored by the Banco do Nordeste do Brasil, DNOCS, SUDENE, Governo do Estado do Cearand FUNCEME (Meteorological Foundation of the State of Cear The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln also provided funding for this seminar.

Overcoming the problem of drought in the northeast region of Brazil will continue to be a problem for years to come. The past century has been filled with both successes and failures. However, the institutions responsible for solving these problems now understand more fully the magnitude of the problems they face, the deficiencies of previous response efforts, and the changes that must ensue if vulnerability to drought is to be lessened. It appears that these institutions are now poised to pursue solutions to these problems in a more coordinated fashion.

India

The policies and programs in place to mitigate the effects of drought in India have evolved over more than a century. The initial emphasis of these programs was the preservation of life and prevention of death (Pant, 1991). Famine codes date back to 1883, when several provincial governments adopted them in response to drought and famine conditions (Sinha et al., 1987). In 1975, the "Drought Code" and "Good Weather Code" were adopted. The Drought Code is anticipatory, providing a list of alternative cropping strategies that should be adopted when there is evidence of drought. These include anticipating conditions of food scarcity early in the season, maximizing production and alternating cropping patterns in irrigated areas, making mid-season corrections in crop planting in nonirrigated areas, and building up seed and fertilizer buffers to implement the drought coping strategy. The Good Weather Code provides a framework for the scientific, administrative, and planning steps needed to take full advantage of a good monsoon season to increase production of food grains. The Drought Watch group, made up of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Meteorology Department, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting exists at the national level to monitor weather conditions throughout the country. This group receives regular reports from similar groups at the state and district levels (Sinha et al., 1987).

The strategies being used by the Indian government to reduce vulnerability to drought are a combination of emergency and long-term measures. These tactics include early monsoon forecasts; improved communication systems; provision of resources such as credit, fertilizers, and pesticides for increasing production; assistance to farmers in poor monsoon years; maintenance of adequate prices; improved transportation systems; and maintenance of reasonable buffer stocks of food grains in strategic locations (Sinha et al., 1987). Relatively recent innovations in India's food production systems have improved the resiliency of these systems through impressive increases in production (Venkateswarlu, 1992).

Each state in India also manages its own Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) to assist in rehabilitation and reconstruction after the occurrence of natural disasters (Pant, 1991). The CRF is a cost-sharing arrangement between the central and state governments on a 3:1 basis. The level of funding provided to the fund by the national government is determined on the basis of the demonstrated vulnerability of the state to natural disasters during the preceding five years. The states have autonomy in deciding how and when these resources are used. The concept of the CRF is quite similar to the NDRA agreements implemented in Australia in 1971 (discussed later in this chapter).

As a result of severe deficiencies in rainfall in more than half of the country's meteorological subdivisions, a drought response plan was drawn up in 1987 (Venkateswarlu, 1992). This plan was operated under the leadership of the Ministries of Energy, Water Resources, Petroleum, Food and Civil Supplies, Rural Development, Health and Family Welfare, Women and Child Development, and Commerce. These ministries work together in developing contingency crop plans, organizing compensatory programs in the post-monsoon period, and creating employment at the rural level. An important part of the drought relief program was organized through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs were instrumental in organizing cattle camps, water supply for humans and cattle, feeding camps for humans, and health care. India's Department of Rural Development, through the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology, provided funds to the NGOs for natural resources works such as afforestation and soil conservation.

The Indian government has also undertaken the establishment of a nationwide satellite monitoring program to complement the nation's current drought management capability. The purpose of this system is to predict and objectively assess the potential impacts of drought on agricultural production. It provides a standard view of drought conditions, thus enabling state and national governments to reconcile their different perceptions of necessary drought management measures (Thiruvengadachari, 1991). The remote sensing information collected through this system is supplemented with ground observations of socioeconomic variables. The system is complemented by the work of the Agro-Meteorology Service of India. This unit is striving to improve weather predictions, prepare climatological information for agricultural decision making, develop delivery systems to provide timely collection and distribution of data and information to users, and develop advisories on agricultural operations for contingency cropping practices during droughts (Sinha et al., 1987).

Evidence would seem to indicate that the drought-prone areas of India are less vulnerable today than they were several decades ago because of the country's maintenance of buffer stocks of food for distribution during times of shortage (personal communication with A.R. Subbiah, 1991). These and other accomplishments in drought and famine mitigation have been achieved largely through a coordinated effort between agencies of government. Although a comprehensive drought preparedness plan has not been fully implemented by the Indian government, much of the infrastructure necessary to support such a strategy is in place.

South Africa

Actions taken by the South African government in response to droughts typically have been poorly coordinated, and assistance programs have been largely ineffective (personal communication from C.R. Baard, 1985). According to Baard, the government has had difficulty assessing drought impact and making subsequent declarations, and no routine comprehensive evaluation of government drought policy and response efforts has been completed.

For many decades, drought assistance programs in South Africa concentrated mainly on providing relief to the livestock industry, with little attention to crop farming, either dryland or irrigated (Wilhite, 1987). The rationale behind this emphasis on the livestock industry has been that 85 percent of all agricultural land in the country remains under native pastures, most of which lie in the dry zones of the western and northwestern part of the country. The incidence of drought in these drier zones is about one year in three. Only 15 percent of South Africa receives precipitation in excess of 500 mm per year. A serious drought that began in 1978 and affected, to varying degrees, 75 percent of South Africa resulted in significant expenditures by the government for drought relief. For example, during the 1984-85 fiscal year, the government spent approximately R447 million in support of various relief programs (personal communication from Baard, 1985). During the years 1987-89 the government allocated R1, 300 million to drought and flood relief schemes (Bruwer, 1990). Expenditures of this magnitude represent a significant expenditure of funds and illustrate the serious threats that natural disasters pose to the country.

In the decades immediately preceding the 1980s, drought relief was provided through a phased approach, but only to farmers in those areas officially designated by the government (Wilhite, 1987). The principal purpose of these assistance programs was to help livestock farmers preserve their herds until dry conditions eased. This assistance was intended to apply only to extended or disaster droughts, although it was often difficult to distinguish between these and "normal" droughts. Assistance provided was generally in the form of rebates (Phase 1) for transportation costs incurred in importing livestock feed to the affected area or in shipping animals to areas where grass was available. If drought conditions continued to deteriorate, loans to purchase livestock feed (Phase 2) were then made through the Agricultural Credit Board. A continuation of drought conditions brought about the availability of subsidies from the government to farmers to help pay for feed (Phase 3). One of the principal difficulties with this phased approach was that it did not encourage farmers to adopt production strategies that favored a minimization of risk to the agricultural resource base (soil, water, and vegetation), an approach more in harmony with environmental constraints (Bruwer, 1990). Indeed, farmers prefer to strive for maximum production, regardless of the potential effects on the resource base. Actions taken recently by the government are aimed at reversing the negative aspects of this response program.

After 1980, the drought relief scheme was modified, placing greater emphasis on the preservation of the agricultural resource base and the self-sufficiency of livestock farmers to endure droughts of other than disaster proportions (Bruwer, 1990). The current approach requires a reduction in stock numbers as a prerequisite for eligibility for the forms of relief available during a "disaster" drought. In order to facilitate this approach, the country was divided into grazing capacity zones.3 This new relief scheme provided for rebates on the transportation costs of livestock feed, incentives for stock reduction, loans and subsidies for the cost of livestock feeds in order to maintain the herd nucleus, and subsidies for finishing stock in feedlots. Incentives were in the form of monthly payments to farmers and were calculated on a per livestock unit basis. Consideration was given to the type of stock (i.e., large vs. small) in the calculation of incentives. Other types of assistance now available to farmers during droughts include a water quota subsidy for irrigators and incentives for converting marginal cultivated lands to perennial pasture crops in both summer and winter rainfall zones.

3 Grazing capacity is defined as the number of hectares per livestock unit that can be kept and maintained on the natural veld or grassland, as well as planted pastures, crop residues, and any other fodder produced on the farm.

To administer the new drought policy and relief scheme, an institutional structure was established. This structure includes the National Drought Committee (NDC), with multiagency representation, to advise the minister of agriculture on drought assistance matters and to scrutinize applications for assistance from affected areas (Bruwer, 1990). District Drought Committees (DDC) were also established at the local level to consider all applications for the designation or revocation of disaster drought areas according to the criteria specified by the NDC. The NDC is responsible for approving or rejecting these applications. The DDC is composed of the magistrate (chair) and representatives of the District Farmers' Union, Agricultural Credit Committee, Soil Conservation Committee, and Department of Agriculture and Water Supply.

Based on experiences with the new drought policy during the 1980s, the government is convinced that the new relief scheme has contributed significantly to sustained agricultural production and development, helped to maintain rural communities and infrastructure, counteracted unemployment, reduced political pressure, and increased cooperation between agricultural groups and government, thus promoting mutual acceptance of responsibility for coping with disasters (Bruwer, 1990). However, Bruwer has noted some deficiencies and shortcomings of the current system. These include the lack of adequate indices to identify disaster droughts, lack of suitable assessment procedures, and inadequate monitoring techniques (including an improved weather station network). A considerable amount of drought-related research also needs to be undertaken, including post-drought audits of past relief efforts.

To assist the DDCs with the evaluation of drought intensity and the determination of eligibility for drought relief, the government recently implemented a scheme that provides for greater uniformity, objectivity, and accuracy in the assessment of drought impact. The main elements evaluated by the procedure are climate, veld, pastures and crops, livestock, and water (Roux, 1991).

The process of developing a better approach to drought management in South Africa is not complete. The government continues to strive for better ways to reduce the risk of drought through proactive measures. According to Bruwer (1990), "society is demanding a more rational, cost effective and proactive approach" for future drought relief schemes. It is essential that this approach reduce the taxpayer's burden and provide incentives for diminishing natural resource degradation.

United States

In the past decade, droughts have been a prevalent feature of the American landscape (see Figure 1). These droughts have resulted in significant impacts in a myriad of economic sectors, including agriculture, transportation, energy, recreation, and health; they have also had adverse environmental consequences. In recent years, attempts to cope with the effects of these extended periods of water shortage have reconfirmed the inadequacy of federal and state contingency planning efforts. Our inability to respond effectively has also illustrated the inflexibility of existing water management systems and policies as well as the lack of coordination between and within levels of governments.


Figure 4. Status of drought planning in the United States, 1992 (updated from Wilhite, 1991b).

The U.S. scientific and policy communities have expressed considerable concern about the continuing inability of governments to respond to drought in an effective and timely manner. This concern has resulted in "calls for action" by regional and scientific organizations (Western Governors' Policy Office, 1978; Great Lakes Commission, 1990; Interstate Conference on Water Policy, 1987; National Academy of Sciences, 1986; Orville, 1990) and government (General Accounting Office, 1979; Brown, 1989). In light of a possible increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events in association with changes in climate, a recent Environmental Protection Agency report (Smith and Tirpak, 1989) has called for the development of a national drought policy to coordinate federal response to drought.

States are now taking the lead in raising the level of drought preparedness in the United States (Wilhite, 1991b). Historically, state governments have played a passive role in governmental efforts to assess and respond to drought. During the widespread and severe drought of 1976-77, for example, no state had prepared a formal drought response strategy. In 1982 only three states had developed plans: South Dakota, New York, and Colorado. Generally speaking, states have relied on the federal government to come to their rescue when water shortages reach near-disaster proportions by providing relief to drought victims. The federal government provided nearly $8 billion in relief as a result of the sequence of drought years in the mid-1970s (Wilhite et al., 1986); federal assistance efforts totaled more than $6 billion in response to the 1988-89 droughts (Riebsame, et al., 1990).

The increasing awareness of inefficient past response efforts, "calls for action," and the impacts of the droughts of the late 1980s have generated considerable momentum at the state level for the establishment of contingency plans. A survey conducted in the fall of 1991 indicates that twenty-six states have now developed drought plans, with three states in the process of developing a plan (Wilhite, 1992a). The pattern of state drought contingency planning is illustrated in Figure 4. In addition, action on the development of a plan is pending in several states, have developed plans, planning efforts have often been conducted in conjunction with an overall water management planning initiative. Clearly, states can now be labeled policy innovators in drought planning. Despite the numerous calls for the development of a national drought policy and plan, the federal government has not acted on these recommendations. The primary reason for the lack of progress by federal agencies seems to be the multidisciplinary nature of drought and the cross-cutting responsibilities of federal agencies for drought assessment and response programs. Clearly, a single federal agency must take the lead in coordinating the development of a plan. It is unclear at present, however, which federal agency would be the most logical choice to lead this interagency effort. In the final analysis, it may take an executive order to initiate the process at this level. In the meantime, the federal government continues to contemplate the need for a national policy and plan.

An examination of existing state drought plans reveals that they have certain key elements in common (Wilhite, 1991b). Administratively, a task force is responsible for the operation of the system and is directly accountable to the governor. The task force keeps the governor advised of water availability and potential problem areas; it also recommends policy options for consideration. Operationally, drought plans have three features in common. First, a water availability committee is established to continuously monitor water conditions and prepare outlooks a month or season in advance. Since most of the information necessary to comprehensively monitor water conditions (i.e., precipitation and temperature, streamflow, groundwater levels, snowpack, soil moisture, meteorological forecasts) is available from state or federal agencies, the primary role of the committee is to coordinate the collection and analysis of this information and the delivery of products to decision makers on a timely basis. The committee assimilates this information and issues timely reports and recommendations. Second, a formal mechanism usually exists to assess the potential impacts of water shortages on the most important economic sectors. In some states this task is accomplished by a single committee, or, more commonly, separate working groups are established to address each sector. Third, a committee or the task force referred to previously usually exists to consider current and potential impacts and recommend response options to the governor.

Although many of the mitigative programs implemented by states during recent droughts can be characterized as emergency actions taken to alleviate the crisis at hand, these actions were often quite successful. As states gain more experience assessing and responding to drought, future actions will undoubtedly become more timely and effective. State drought contingency plans will become broader in scope, addressing a wider range of potential mitigative actions, including more meaningful levels of intergovernmental coordination. In time this will help states avoid or reduce the impacts, conflicts, and personal hardship associated with drought. State-level plans will need to be integrated with plans at other levels as they develop.

From the progress that has been achieved in drought planning by state government in the past five years, it seems clear that some valuable lessons have been learned about the need for preparedness. The key question that has yet to be answered is whether these lessons will be forgotten when the rains return. Or will states continue to strive to lessen vulnerability to future episodes of drought? One can argue that although some degree of apathy is unavoidable, continuing drought, recent "calls for action" for the development of contingency plans, and existing plans give us reason to be optimistic that the issue of drought planning will remain an important agenda item for state governments in the United States. The future commitment of the federal government is far less certain.

Australia

The Australian constitution does not delegate specific powers covering natural disaster relief to the federal government. These powers belong primarily to the states, which, as a result, have taken a more active role in drought response than state governments in the United States and elsewhere.

Before 1971, natural disaster relief and restoration was provided at a state's request by joint federal/state financing on a 1:1 cost-sharing basis. No limit was set on the level of funding that could be provided by the federal government. In 1971 the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA) were established, whereby states were expected to meet a certain base level or threshold of expenditures for disaster relief from their own resources (Department of Primary Industry, 1984). Disasters provided for in this arrangement are droughts, cyclones, storms, floods, and bushfires. These expenditure thresholds were set according to 1969-70 state budget receipts and therefore varied between states. The base levels were raised in 1978 and 1984 (National Drought Consultative Committee, 1984; Keating, 1984). Under the NDRA arrangements, the federal government agreed to provide full reimbursement of eligible expenditures after the thresholds for state expenditures on natural disasters were reached. The NDRA formalized, for the first time, joint federal-state natural disaster relief arrangements.

At the time of the establishment of NDRA, a special set of core measures (i.e., federal government-approved drought assistance measures) had evolved in each state on the basis of thirty years of government involvement in disaster relief. These measures were particularly relevant to the needs of each state because they had been designed by state government in response to its own disaster-related experiences.

State and federal expenditures for drought aid from 1970-71 to 1983-84 under the NDRA were considerable. The magnitude of expenditures for all states was just over A$570 million (National Drought Consultative Committee, 1984). Of this total, approximately A$180 million was expended during 1982-83 and A$120 million was spent during 1983-84. Federal expenditures to the states for drought aid under the NDRA arrangements were just under A$370 million, or about A$200 million less than the total state expenditures. The largest share of the assistance was provided to Queensland and New South Wales.

In addition to the cost-sharing measures described above, two federal drought assistance schemes were available during the 1982-83 drought. These were the Drought Relief Fodder Subsidy Scheme and the Drought Relief Interest Subsidy Scheme (National Drought Consultative Committee, 1984). The Fodder Subsidy Scheme provided a payment to drought-declared primary producers to help defray the cost of fodder for sheep and cattle. The administrative costs of this program were covered by the states. The amount of the subsidy was based on 50% of the price of feed wheat and the nutritive value of the fodder relative to wheat; Commonwealth expenditures under this program were about A$104 million during 1982-83 and A$18 million through February 1984.

The Drought Relief Interest Subsidy Scheme provided payments to eligible primary producers to cover all interest payments exceeding 12% per year. To be eligible, producers had to have been drought declared and could not have available financial assets in excess of 12% of the total farm debt. Expenditures for the program, not including administrative costs, were about A$3 million in 1982-83 and A$23 million through February 1984.

The Livestock and Grain Producers Association (LGPA) of New South Wales strongly commended the state and federal governments of Australia for their drought assistance measures. LGPA based its conclusions on the achievement of what it considers to be the first priority of drought aid in Australia - the preservation of the national sheep and cattle herd. Through the preservation of these resources, farm and nonfarm income was able to recover more quickly than after previous episodes of severe drought. LGPA estimated that, had government not intervened in 1982-83, some 15 to 20 million sheep would have been slaughtered. As a result, post-drought recovery would have been delayed, at a cost to the national economy of A$500 million over a five-year period (Anonymous, 1983). However, the Working Group for the Standing Committee of the Australian Agricultural Council (1983) concluded, "With the exception of concessional finance and information, existing policy measures, including those introduced during the current (1982-83) drought, do not perform well in achieving the objectives of drought policy which it considered important. In summary, the nearly $300 million of expenditures was not cost effective."

These contrasting views of the cost effectiveness of recent drought measures in Australia reflect the recent controversy over state and federal involvement in drought aid. Several other studies have been completed (National Farmers' Federation, 1983; South Australian Department of Agriculture, 1983; Stott, 1983), each providing recommendations for future drought policy. The National Drought Consultative Committee (NDCC) was appointed by the Minister for Primary Industry in 1984 to review Australian drought policy. In April 1989 the Commonwealth government decided to remove drought from the NDRA scheme described previously. Following this action, a drought policy review was recommended by the Commonwealth in May 1989 under the leadership of the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy. The objectives of this review (Drought Policy Review Task Force, 1990) were to (1) identify policy options that encourage primary producers and other segments of rural Australia to adopt self-reliant approaches to the management of drought; (2) consider the integration of drought policy with other relevant policy issues; and (3) advise on priorities for Commonwealth government action in minimizing the effects of drought in the rural sector. An important aspect of this policy review was to examine the extent to which the policies of the Commonwealth government promote more effective farm management given the seasonality of climates and climatic variability. The task force concluded that the relief measures that have been used in the past have not provided a positive incentive for effective farm management or responsible land management. On the contrary, it was determined that common misperceptions of drought have guided past policies by government, leading to a process of crisis management or "gambling on the weather" by the agricultural community (Drought Policy Review Task Force, 1990).

Several objectives of a newly defined national drought policy emerged from the task force review. These objectives are to (1) encourage primary producers and other segments of rural Australia to adopt self-reliant approaches in managing for climatic variability; (2) facilitate the maintenance and protection of Australia's agricultural and environmental resource base during periods of increasing climate stress; and (3) facilitate the early recovery of agricultural and rural industries consistent with long-term sustainable levels. Within this framework, numerous more specific objectives of these policies were stated. The primary thrust of this change in national policy is from one of crisis management to one of risk management. The intent of the task force was to apply this approach at two management levels, farm and government policy. This integrated approach is the foundation of the proposed changes in national policy that have now been implemented following a period of review by states.

This redirection of drought policy stemmed from a fundamental philosophical change in how the Australian government views climatic variability and drought (Drought Policy Review Task Force, 1990). Instead of considering drought as a physical phenomenon and a specifically defined event denoted by a period of rainfall deficiency or reduced productivity, the task force recognized the following features of drought. First, no objective physical criteria at present can identify the existence of drought. It was felt that defining the concept in these terms encouraged the artificial designation of drought or nondrought periods or levels of drought severity (i.e., extreme, severe, moderate). Second, drought is a relative concept, dependent on the type of agricultural system in practice in a particular region and whether that system is in harmony or equilibrium with climate constraints. Rather, the task force chose to view drought (and climatic variability) as one of several factors affecting land productivity. For example, inappropriate management practices can induce drought-like effects or exacerbate existing drought conditions. The key, in the view of the task force, is to manage the land appropriately, taking into account the risks associated with operating an agricultural business, given the variability of climate. In other words, drought is considered one of many risks that farmers must consider in the operation of their business. The task force summarized their findings as follows:

"In a risk context, therefore, drought is synonymous with climatic variability. Recognition of this supply side risk is a significant departure from traditional perspectives on drought, but one we believe is critical to effective implementation of a national drought policy.

To achieve more sustainable agricultural production systems, both industry and government must accept the variability of climate. There is no such thing as a normal or average season. Managing for climate and income variability must become the norm, instead of what has amounted in the past to attempted income and climate stabilisation measures.

The need to manage for variable climatic conditions puts an onus on producers to adopt more flexible farming and management strategies.

Equally, producers must be given the opportunity to manage for the risks involved. Government policies need to recognize these risks and to provide appropriate encouragement to producers to manage for them as part of their ongoing business activities.

The need for more flexible and sustainable production systems puts greater onus on governments to reconsider their traditional approaches to industry support and assistance.

Assistance arrangements must be consistent with this self-reliant approach and apply when the risks involved begin to exceed those that can reasonably be addressed on a sound commercial basis."

Under the new national drought policy, the Australian government will provide financial assistance to farmers through the Rural Adjustment Scheme, a responsibility of the Commonwealth government (Kerin, 1991). Thus, under this policy, more responsibility for drought assistance will be transferred to federal government. Under the NDRA agreements, states carried a larger share of this responsibility.

The changes in drought policy recently implemented by the Australian government are dramatic and underscore a growing discontent with traditional response approaches. Although it will take some time before the results of this policy experiment are known, this innovative approach is one that should be studied by other governments for possible implementation, with appropriate modifications.

Summary

Drought is a natural hazard that plagues, in varying degrees, virtually all nations. The trend toward improved preparedness depicted in this chapter illustrates a wide range of government perspectives on drought management. Some of the cases presented were selected because they portray examples of significant progress, while others simply show how the problem is being approached in various settings.

Like the occurrence of drought, the trend toward improving the level of preparedness is clearly a global phenomenon. It is not restricted to a particular continent, climatic regime, political system, or level of development. Many governments now view drought as a recurring physical event that results in complex direct and indirect economic, social, and environmental impacts that may linger for years beyond the termination of the event itself. Thus governments have begun to develop improved monitoring or early warning capability and an infrastructure to more effectively respond to water shortages when they occur. Governments are only now beginning to understand the symbiotic relationship between drought and human activities and the need for a national drought policy that integrates emergency programs and long-term development objectives. Chapter 3 presents a methodology that countries should consider as they move to develop a national drought policy and preparedness strategy.