| Measuring drought and drought impacts in Red Sea Province |
|1. Introduction to Red Sea Province|
People practice a variety of drought-coping strategies in Red Sea Province. Most of these involve intensification of activities they already perform, for example, labour migration. These strategies are characteristic of the early onset of stress. Others strategies employed when stress is acute is migration to urban areas, camps, or the roadside to obtain relief from government and international donors. Cutler (1986) depicted a three-stage sequence of drought coping in Red Sea Province of adaptive strategies, sale of assets, and mass migration. Based on Cutler's work and work of the Research Section of Oxfam Port Sudan, the following sequence of drought-coping strategies can be formulated.
1. Initial response: intensification of activities already occurring in some form. This response stage involves food consumption reduction, the consumption of bush foods, borrowing from kin, storage rather than sale of household cereal production, the increased sale of livestock, new or increased involvement in artisanal production, and greater and longer labour migration. At this level great consideration is paid to such herding strategies as herd splitting and travelling to or remaining in the favoured herding areas such as the Gash or Tokar Deltas, the Nile valley, the Atbara valley, or the Gedarif area rather than risk movement under uncertain prospects for pasture production.
2. Medial response: calling in of loans, the sale of assets such as gold, silver, tools, breeding stock, borrowing from traders.
3. Terminal response: out-migration in search of assistance. Mostly old people, women and children ever employ this strategy in Red Sea Province. By the time conditions get this bad, most men of working age are no longer present. They are with livestock or seeking employment in towns.
The ability to respond to stress is conditioned by a variety of factors. These factors, or variables, interact on the micro and macro levels. The ability to respond at the micro level, the level of the individual or family, is conditioned by the economic and social circumstances of the individual, age, gender, family size, and location. The ability of individuals or families to respond is affected by several trends and processes at the macro level. These trends or processes are the level of development, economic instability, political instability, environmental variation, environmental degradation, and population growth.