Essay Effects on Drought

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Effects on Drought

Drought has long been recognized as one of the most insidious causes of human misery. It has today the unfortunate distinction of being the natural disaster that annually claims the most victims. Its ability to cause widespread misery is actually increasing. While generally associated with semiarid climates, drought can occur in areas that normally enjoy adequate rainfall and moisture levels. In the broadest sense, any lack of water for the normal needs of agriculture, livestock, industry, or human population may be termed a drought. The cause may be lack of supply, contamination of supply, inadequate storage or conveyance facilities, or abnormal demand. Drought, as commonly
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This led to overgrazing, continuous cropping, and lowering of the groundwater table. Thus, the sharply lower rainfall of 1972 and 1973 served to increase a degenerative process that was already underway. While attention has been focused on the magnitude of human suffering, the drought's impact on the economy has been equally profound. In real terms, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Chad was down nine percent in 1973, the worst year of the drought. The loss in real economic growth was a devastating setback for Chad; its 1975 per capita Gross National Product (GNP) of $120 ranked Chad as one of the lowest income countries in the world. One of the greatest effects of the drought was on livestock production, an important source of income, employment, and exports in Chad. The national herd of 4.7 million cattle, goats, and sheep was reduced by one half, and the remaining animals suffered from malnutrition and disease. Because of the importance livestock played as a foreign exchange earner, the losses had a severe impact on the budgetary and balance of payments situations. Population and employment also registered the effects of the disaster. About half of the population of four million lived in the Sahelian zone. As the drought persisted, many people migrated in search of relief. Some followed their herds into neighboring
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