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UN calls drought the next pandemic, urges to manage water

UN calls drought the next pandemic, urges to manage water

The United Nations report calls out drought as a hidden global crisis that can become "the next pandemic". The UN report speculates that by the end of the 21st century, most of the nations will experience drought in some form.

It also drew attention to address the climate emergency.

Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary general's special representative for disaster risk reduction said that drought is on the verge of becoming the next pandemic and there is no vaccine for it. She added that most of the world will be living with water stress in the next few years, and demand is going to outstrip supply. The Japanese diplomat pointed out that drought will play a major role in the future of upcoming land degradation and the decline of major crops.

Mizutori said the popular image of drought is associated with the deserts of Africa. But that is not true. She added that even though mankind has been living with drought for 5,000 years, the situation is different now because human activities are exacerbating it and increasing its impact.

Co-author of the report Roger Pulwarty, a senior scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that the effects of drought will go beyond agriculture. It will affect transport, tourism, and energy generation. He added that there is a modernised image of drought everyone needs to think about.

He pointed out that population growth, deforestation, overuse of fertilisers, unscientific farming practices, inefficient use of water resources, over-extraction of water, and changing rainfall patterns due to climate crisis are major contributors to the increased risk of drought

The report said that at least 1.5 billion people have already been affected by drought in this century. The true estimate is likely to be much higher because developing countries haven't kept such records. The economic cost of drought is likely to be $124bn.

The findings in the UN report states that the developed nations are not immune to the consequences. Southern Europe, Australia, and the United States have seen drought in recent years. The US has lost over $6 billion a year.

The Intergovernmental organization urged nations to take action to better manage water and land.

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