UN REPORT ON DROUGHT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     2nd December 2023        

Context: Recently, new data from a global drought map compiled by the United Nations revealed that at least 23 countries, including India, declared drought emergencies at a national or sub-national level during 2022-23, highlighting unprecedented urgency on a planetary scale.

Key Points

  • An emergency was declared in 23 countries due to the impact of drought. Europe had the highest number (8) — Spain, Italy and United Kingdom declaring it in April, May and July 2023, respectively.
  • In Asia, five countries declared drought — India and Sri Lanka in August 2023, Indonesia in July 2023, Kazakhstan and China in April and May 2022, respectively.
  • The report emphasised the fact that the massive impacts of human-induced droughts are only starting to unfold.


  • About: It refers to a transient decrease in the availability of water or moisture, falling below the typical or anticipated amount for a specific duration.
  • Drought Area in India: UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal — the major rice-producing states of India — are in the grips of drought in the absence of enough rain.
  • Impact of Drought

oWater shortage: By 2050, over three-quarters of the global population, around 4.8-5.7 billion people, may experience water scarcity for at least one month annually, up from the current 3.6 billion.

oMigration: By 2030, an estimated 700 million people worldwide could be displaced due to drought.

oMortality: Over the past century, drought has claimed over 10 million lives, with 90% of these deaths occurring in developing countries.

oPoverty: Severe droughts have pushed nearly 13 million people in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha below the poverty line, causing a loss of nearly $400 million during a drought year.

oAgriculture impact: India's predominantly rainfed agriculture, constituting 60% of the sown area on average, is significantly affected.