By 2050, more than 75% of World’s population might suffer from drought

Droughts are expected to affect more than three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050, according to the UN, which commemorated World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on Friday.

The day that is annually observed on June 17 since 1995, focuses on altering public attitude towards the leading driver of desertification and land degradation.

The theme for this year is “Rising up from drought together,” which emphasizes the importance of taking action quickly to avoid severe consequences for humanity and the environment.

In 2021, 2.3 billion people were impacted by droughts. Approximately, 55 million people worldwide are directly affected by droughts every year. By 2040, an estimated one in four children will live in “drought-hit areas”. Between 1900 and 2019, droughts and related issues caused 11.7 million deaths.

According to data collated by Anadolu Agency from scientific findings and publications by international agencies, drought is on the rise around the world as a result of global warming and dwindling water resources. Hence, droughts are one of the main reasons for declining grain production and consequent financial losses.

According to the UN, drought is already disrupting all types of countries and geographies, significantly harming global food systems, health, economic, and social development.

During a drought, women and indigenous populations will be particularly susceptible. “Drought is a catastrophe that comes on slowly. As soon as it appears, preparedness and quick action are required. When it comes to drought mitigation, we aim to shift from a reactive to a proactive mindset.”

Between 1900 and 2019, 11.7 million people died as a result of drought-related causes, with Africa suffering more than any other continent, with 134 droughts in the last two decades. The drought in the Horn of Africa, for example, is now in its fourth year. Five years ago, a comparable drought in Southern Africa pushed 20 million people to the brink of starvation. Chile has experienced a record-breaking 13th year of drought this year.

Drought-prone areas in India have increased by 57% since 1997. Every year, 50 million Indians are threatened by drought.

In the last 10 years, Europe has seen 45 droughts. With 15 % of the continent’s land and 17 % impacted, the cost for Europe has exceeded $27 billion. Drought-related damage to agricultural products in the United States has surpassed $250 billion in the last century.

Somalia, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Mauritania, and South Africa, on the other hand, are among the countries most at risk of drought.