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Drought is undoubtedly the most far-reaching of all natural disasters. From 1991 to 2000 alone, drought has been responsible for over 280,000 deaths and has cost tens of millions of US dollars in damage. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa suffered its worst dry-spell of the century in 1991-92 when drought covered a region of 6.7 million square km and affected about 110 million people.

By the year 2025, the population projected to be living in water-scarce countries will rise to between 1.0 billion and 2.4 billion, representing roughly 13% to 20% of the projected global population. Africa and parts of western Asia appear to be particularly vulnerable to increasing water scarcity.

The fight against drought receives a high priority in WMO. The Organization involves National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in regional and sub-regional cooperative projects such as the operation of Drought Monitoring Centres in Africa (DMC-Nairobi , DMC-Harare). In particular, WMO promotes research on the interactions between climate, the hydrological regime and drought in the context of climate variability, change and water resources scarcity. With a view to developing appropriate response strategies, WMO's efforts in drought forecasting and mitigation are supplemented by public awareness and education and training activities.



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