The human activities of a region - in particular the farming
are usually dependent on the climate. If this changes, the
effects can be devastating: drought, crop failures and
starvation can lead to human suffering on a massive scale.
(Natural Disasters, Readers Digest, 1996)
Droughts are caused by lack of rain over a long period of time. If rain does occur it usually isn't enough for the ground to absorb before it is evaporated again. Plants and animals need water to survive, so if there is not enough water they will eventually die from thirst and dehydration. Water is one of the main ingredients in the food chain, for example: If a plant dies from lack of water then the animal that eats that plant will also die, the cycle will then continue to die out.
Most droughts tend to occur during summer, as the weather is hot and water is quickly evaporated. Droughts can last for years in most extreme cases. These types of droughts effect outback properties and can devastate crops and livestock. However, many crops are effected. If a farmer has lost his crop due to drought then he will get no money to pay for the next seasonal crop.
Droughts usually occur in hot dry areas of land. In most cases the area is dry because there is very minimal rainfall. The rain that does fall will be quickly absorbed into the ground or blown away by the dry air flow that moves along the ground. Therefore the land is very dry and not many things can live there.
1931 - 1938
Great Plains of the USA
Severe wind storms dried out the land and blew the top layer of soil away
Cars, homes and farms destroyed in dust storms
1982 - 1983
No rain for more than one year
60% of Australian sheep and cattle died
1972 - 1974
The countries financial business went down
It did not rain from June 1975 to September 1976. Droughts are very rare in England
Water rationing was greatly needed in the larger cities of Britain
Because drought is to dry and hot plants cannot survive without water and animals cannot survive without plants, water and other living creatures. So drought has a great effect on the food chain. If a drought is really long, measures are taken to help save the water. When a drought is that bad drastic measures such as never washing your car or only having one shower per day are not much fun and can sometimes lead to uncleanly environments which can cause bacterial related diseases and infections. Elderly people have trouble with living in very hot and dry environments. They have trouble trying to stay cool and not many elderly folk drink a lot of fluids. So drought has its own effect on every one. Drought causes the land to be unhealthy as well. It can dry it out so much that large cracks in the earth's crust and because no plants live within the dry climate it means that the soil is not able to be held together by plant roots. This is the effect that causes wind erosion.
Above Left: Damaged Earth cracked by the loss of
water and excessive heat.
Above Right: Cattle dying from hunger because of drought.
Below: Herding cattle through a drought stricken area.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a ear of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.