Droughtvulnerable Vs Droughtresilient Society

The Drought Discussion Group of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) has proposed a new paradigm to improve understanding of the drought hazard in the macro and micro contexts with the goal of enhancing drought preparedness and mitigation efforts in all settings ranging from local to national and from developing to developed countries (ISDR Drought Discussion Group, 2003). This new paradigm emphasizes greater understanding and description of both the physical features of the hazard and the social factors that influence societal vulnerability. Figures 3 and 4 are modified from the Drought Discussion Group's report and represent the characteristics of a drought-vulnerable society (i.e., crisis management) and the discussion group's vision for future drought management efforts, respectively.

The society portrayed in Figure 3 is vulnerable to drought and has not developed the institutional capacity to monitor its onset and end, to mitigate risk, or to launch a timely relief response. In this example, there has been no vulnerability assessment of who and what is at risk and why, a fundamental prerequisite of a risk-based approach to drought management. The result is a reactive approach to drought management characterized by delayed crisis response in the post-drought setting. This often leads to far-reaching negative impacts and a long period of recovery. Often another drought episode will occur before the recovery process is complete.

Under the new paradigm for a drought-resilient society, a risk-based drought policy is developed with preparedness plans and proactive mitigation strategies. It is part of a long-term management strategy directed at reducing societal vulnerability to drought. Security is a prerequisite. A comprehensive early warning system that integrates a wide range of physical and social indicators has been developed and implemented. The early warning system works well in delivering time-sensitive information to decision makers, who, in turn, have the political will and resources to apply this information as part of a comprehensive risk-reducing strategy. In this model, governance systems work and vulnerable people are able to claim their rights. Although this may be an ideal, it highlights the conditions necessary to reduce the risk of drought and the necessary role of government in drought mitigation and management.

c li oo St

Society exposed to drought

Lack of risk-based, drought management policies

Lack of early warning system

Locally specific factors (historical, political, social, economic, cultural) resulting in marginalized groups lacking resources/ options/access to mitigate impacts. Vary over time

Figure 3 Drought-vulnerable society. (Modified from ISDR Discussion Group.)

Locally specific factors (historical, political, social, economic, cultural) resulting in marginalized groups lacking resources/ options/access to mitigate impacts. Vary over time

Figure 3 Drought-vulnerable society. (Modified from ISDR Discussion Group.)

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