TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (5): 744-752.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002883

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Temporal Variation and Health Risk Assessment of Drought Disasters in Africa

LI Chanjuan1,2,YANG Linsheng1,LI Hairong1   

  1. (1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100101,China;2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049,China)
  • Received:2015-11-20 Online:2016-09-05 Published:2016-09-05

Abstract: This paper studied the time trend of drought disaster in recent 25 years in Africa and its health risks of 54 African countries. Inter-annual changes of drought frequency and affected rate per million people were analyzed with the data from 1990 to 2014 recorded in the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT). Based on four elements of disaster risk assessment, including hazard, exposure, vulnerability and adaptability, a health risk assessment model of drought disaster in Africa was established. In order to make quantitative health risk assessment of drought disaster, a multi-index comprehensive evaluation system was established and index weight was determined, combined with the main health effects of drought in Africa. The result showed that the occurrence of drought disasters in Africa was fluctuating from 1990 to 2014 due to the impacts of global climate change and large scale circulation anomalies. The main health effects of drought disasters, such as cholera and malnutrition, were significantly correlated to drought frequency, affected population, total population, percentage of the people with access to improved water source and sanitation facilities, percentage of the population in age from 0-14, proportion of rural population, political stability, and absence of violence/terrorism index. Owing to high drought frequency, population exposure, vulnerability and relatively weak disaster adaptation capacities, the high health risk areas were distributed mainly from Mali in West Africa to Somali in the corner of East Africa eastwardly, then to South Africa southwardly. Drought hazards were more severe in the areas with higher drought frequencies, and exposures were bigger in the areas with a larger total population, where human health threats or risks were more serious. Improvements to lavatories and sanitation facilities can upgrade the conditions of population’s drinking water, and reduce the prevalence of malnutrition, cholera and other water-borne diseases. Nations with high degrees of stability provided basic guarantees upon which to build a nation’s disaster prevention capacity and disaster adaptability. Rural populations and children under 15 years of age were more vulnerable population groups when facing drought disasters and/or food insecurity. Hence, the larger the proportion of the rural population was, and the more the children under 15 years of age were, the higher the malnutrition rate and drought risk would be.

Key words: drought disaster, health risk assessment, Africa