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Climate change; Drought has affected India in the last 20 years

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Between 1998 and 2017, more than 150 crore people were directly affected by drought, with a loss of Rs 9.2 lakh crore to the global economy.

Ground Report | New Delhi: Climate change, Drought; So far this century, drought has directly affected 1.5 billion people, more than any slow-onset disaster. If countries do not do anything now to deal with water, land management, and climate change, it will soon emerge as the next pandemic. So according to a new report, urgent action is needed to improve drought management and prevention.

A special report on drought released by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDDR) on June 18 showed that between 1998 and 2017 more than 150 million people were directly affected by drought. Not only this, the global economy has suffered a loss of about Rs 9.2 lakh crore ($ 12,400 million).

However, the report has also admitted that this estimate of damage is not completely accurate. The actual damage caused by drought is likely to be many times higher because the exact information about the damage caused by drought in developing countries is not available. Drought has a huge impact on our society and economy as well as ecosystems. Its biggest impact falls on the most vulnerable and backward sections of society.

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Due to climate change, where the temperature is increasing, on the one hand, it is also affecting the rainfall pattern. This has led to frequent droughts in many regions of the world and increased their severity and duration. As we move towards increasing the temperature by 2°C, the threat of drought is also increasing.

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Change in meteorological drought frequency (events/decade) from recent past (1981–2010) to 2100 for four projected warming levels of global surface air temperature (left) and number of drought events with stronger severity than ever recorded in the recent past (1981–2010) (right)

According to the report, if the temperature continues to rise rapidly, 129 countries of the world will be forced to face drought in this century. At the same time, 23 countries will be facing the problem of water crisis due to increasing population, while for 38 countries both population and climate change will be the reason for the increasing water crisis.

If we look at the RCP 8.5 scenario of excessive emissions, according to this, more than 85 million people are facing severe drought every month, this figure will increase to 472 million by the end of the century.

68 percent of India is in the grip of drought

Climate change Drought; If we talk about India’s drought, there was severe drought between 1876 to 1878, 1899 to 1900, 1918 to 1919, 1965 to 1967, 2000 to 2003, and 2015 to 2018. If we look at the impact of drought on the Indian economy, about 5 percent of GDP is being damaged every year. However, if we evaluate the rise in the prices of food products, water crisis, and other effects, then this loss will sit much more than this.

Drought vulnerability with a focus on agricultural systems

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According to a case study taken in this report, due to the drought in Tamil Nadu, there was a decline of 5 percent in the industry sector and 3 percent in the service sector while the primary sector declined by 20 percent. The impact of severe droughts on India’s GDP is estimated to be about 2–5% per annum, despite substantial decreases in the contribution of agriculture to GDP over the period 1951–2003 (Gadgil and Gadgil, 2006). Furthermore, the socioecological damage can also be significant, as was the case in the 2002 drought, which caused large-scale ecological damage, mass migration, and death (UNDP, 2002).

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