Drought Could be the Next Pandemic, Warns a UN Report
Grappling with a pandemic already, the world sure could use good news. However, a bleak look into the future reveals much peril is yet to come, with shifting climatic patterns, poor water management and growing populations. A UN report has warned that these factors will contribute to creating the next pandemic of a catastrophic drought.
The UN’s Special Report on Drought 2021 exhibits the risks in coming years as a result of reduced rainfall in the key regions around the world, all the while exploring the drivers behind drought and how various management measures can cope up with the water crisis.
According to the United Nations, water scarcity and drought will devastate the world alike the coronavirus pandemic with risks growing rapidly as the planet heats up. The phenomenon already has triggered economic losses of at least $124c billion and has affected over 1.5 billion people between 1998 and 2017; although, these figures could be underestimated.
Mami Mizutori, the UN’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said,
Drought is on the verge of becoming the next pandemic and there is no vaccine to cure it. It can indirectly affect countries that are not actually experiencing the drought through food insecurity and the rise of food prices.
Global warming and climate change has intensified drought in southern Europe and western Africa. The number of people affected by drought is growing dramatically and the situation is projected to exacerbate unless the world acts.
About 130 countries could face a greater risk of drought in this century under a high-emission global scenario cited by the UN. Another 23 nations will be facing water scarcity with population growth, with 38 countries affected by both.
The UN expects more frequent and severe droughts in most of Africa, Central and South America, Central Asia, southern Australia, southern Europe, Mexico and the United States.
Apparently, the deteriorating soil, caused in part by poor land management, has damaged the soil irreparably. The effects of desertification could also have a devastating impact across the world.