Social impact of droughts

The social implication of droughts is perhaps the most felt, as they directly involve each of us. Some people (especially those from developed countries) have never experienced what it is like to live without adequate water. It is a nightmare.

Health has a direct link to the water supply of any settlement. Clean water for drinking and water for cleaning and sanitation help society prevent and manage diseases.

Hunger, malnutrition, anemia, and mortality impacts of droughts are indirect in nature. Droughts cause low food production (crops and livestock), and particularly in poorer regions, people have less to eat. Food nutrition is a problem too, and that leads to vulnerability, diseases/illness, and deaths. This is particularly so in remote communities of poorer countries, where communication and accessibility are usually poor.

Freshwater levels and water discharge during droughts are low, resulting in less dilution in ecosystem waters. This means that the concentration of chemicals, nutrients, and solid particles increases, and dissolved oxygen decreases.

 People migrate to other places in search of better living conditions. This makes a region in drought vulnerable, as many of its young and working population are forced to leave. Farm families suffer more when family members migrate. Droughts in more rural areas of the world cause strain on family lives. There is more pressure on women to work outside farms to help provide for the family.

Anxiety, stress, and the generally low and drained feeling of not knowing when things will improve can harm people. People are unhappy and depressed because all the things that they used to do are no longer available and they have to deal with a difficulty that has no end in sight. Community networks are broken and social interaction decreases. This results in low esteem and a feeling of social isolation.

People feel unsafe and threatened by the loss of forests and wildfires, as well as loss of human life.