83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 2:31 PM
Impacts of the protracted drought in central and southwest Asia
Bradfield Lyon, IRI for Climate Prediction, Palisades, NY; and H. Cullen and M. Barlow
The persistent and widespread failure of boreal winter precipitation in much of Central and Southwest Asia has led to the third, and in some cases the fourth, consecutive year of severe drought. The drought is the worst to affect the region in the last 50-75 years. From a global perspective the drought represents the largest area of persistent precipitation deficits observed over the past four years. Upwards of 60 million people have been directly affected.

Regionally, the severity and persistence of the drought have led to wide-ranging impacts. In many areas there has been a widespread scarcity of potable water as well as seriously depleted supplies for irrigation and sanitation. Agricultural production has been significantly impacted, and there has been a substantial reduction in livestock populations that are key to subsistence livelihoods. A rise in respiratory and sanitation-related diseases have also been directly linked to the drought. Large population movements due to the combination of drought and civil instability have greatly aggravated all of these problems. Based on reports from national an international agencies and relief organizations, we summaruze the impacts of the drought across sectors. Reasearch issues related to water resources and seasonal climate variability in the region are also highlighted.

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