World ‘at a crossroads’ in management of droughts, up 29% in a generation and worsening, reports the UN

Humanity is “at a crossroads” when it comes to managing drought and accelerating mitigation must be done “urgently, using every tool we can,” says a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

  • Since 2000, the number and duration of droughts has risen 29%
  • From 1970 to 2019, weather, climate and water hazards accounted for 50% of disasters and 45% of disaster-related deaths, mostly in developing countries
  • Droughts represent 15% of natural disasters but took the largest human toll, approximately 650,000 deaths from 1970-2019
  • From 1998 to 2017, droughts caused global economic losses of roughly 124 billion US dollars
  • In 2022, more than 2.3 billion people face water stress; almost 160 million children are exposed to severe and prolonged droughts
  • By 2030, an estimated 700 million people will be at risk of being displaced by drought
  • By 2040, an estimated one in four children will live in areas with extreme water shortages
  • By 2050, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population, and an estimated 4.8-5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today. And up to 216 million people could be forced to migrate by 2050, largely due to drought in combination with other factors including water scarcity, declining crop productivity, sea-level rise, and overpopulation

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