| Measuring drought and drought impacts in Red Sea Province |
|3. Drowght, food stress, and the flood and rainfall record for Red Sea Province. Roy Cole|
We do not have a clear understanding about the extent and the severity of the drought experienced in the Eastern Region of the Sudan during the early 1980s, nor do we have much information concerning previous drought in the area A drought is generally held to have occurred simultaneously over the Red Sea Province, Kassala Province (together the Eastern Region), Eritrea, and Ethiopia sometime in the early 1980s and a widespread famine is reported to have occurred in 1985. The Eritrean and Ethiopian drought, complicated by a long civil war, is well known. The present study was conducted to examine the distribution in time and space of the less well known drought in the Eastern Region of the Sudan that occurred in the early 1980s and other droughts that have occurred in the past.
The flood and rainfall record forms the basis for the present examination of the distribution of drought in the Eastern Region.
In this paper the flood record for 9 watersheds in Red Sea Province, 1 watershed in Kassala Province, and the records of 19 rainfall gauging stations in and around Red Sea Province will be examined. The study has four purposes:
1. To obtain a more precise understanding of the extent of the drought of the early 1980s in the Eastern Region as well as the droughts that preceded the 1980s.
2. To compare information obtained from the flood record with information obtained from rainfall gauging stations around Eastern
3. To compare qualitative estimations about drought and food stress in the past with the flood and rainfall record.
4. To make available to policymakers, government, and other researchers the historical record for the study area.
Although purposes one and two are important and form much of the discussion of the present paper, it is purpose four that is most important to the author. It is in the endeavour to contribute to the growing database on Red Sea Province that the present paper was written.
In the following discussion of the flood and rainfall records, first a general discussion of precipitation patterns in and around Red Sea Province will be presented. A definition of drought will then be formulated and discussed. After this discussion, a section on the flood record will be presented followed by a section on the rainfall record. A specific discussion of the measurement of drought impacts for each method of measurement will be found in a summary at the end of each section. A comparative discussion of the measurement of drought impacts by both methods will be reserved for the penultimate section on the measurement of drought impacts.