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Overview of the Factors and Harmful Effects of Droughts

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Droughts are a very serious problem that can affect us environmentally, agriculturally, and economically. Droughts happen when the moisture in the soil is not enough to meet the demands of evapotranspiration, which is the process of moisture transferring from the Earth to the air by the process of evaporation of water and transpiration by plants. Droughts are usually associated with semiarid climates, but can occur anywhere that normally has an acceptable amount of rainfall and moisture levels, and they are usually associated with warm to hot dry winds, high temperatures, and low relative humidity. The biggest hazards of droughts are famine, communicable disease, and death. Some of the main factors that cause droughts are insufficient rainfall, temperature and climate changes, and human factors. Factors that affect vulnerability include fragile physical environment, fragile economy, and lack of preparedness.

A drought is defined as “a long period of abnormally low rainfall, especially one that adversely affects growing or living conditions” (“drought”). Droughts happen when an area does not receive anywhere near its average precipitation. They cause water and food shortages that have negative effects on the population. Droughts can last for a few months or even years and are known as the ‘creeping’ hazard because they develop slowly and have a prolonged existence. Droughts are very difficult to predict, but researchers are working on advanced warning systems and trying to find a way to predict the lifespan of each drought. The three main hazards of a drought are communicable diseases, famine, and death. Communicable diseases are caused by the lack of water supply, sanitation, malnutrition, displacement, and the hig...

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