The map of worldwide drought as of July 2013 shows that more than 161 million people are living under extreme drought.
The dark red indicates areas experiencing extreme drought with widespread pasture and crop losses and exceptional fire risk. Interestingly, although it appears there are more red areas in July than when we last looked at the worldwide drought map in February, there are seventeen million fewer people living under extreme drought conditions. While that’s not necessarily a good thing, it does mean that fewer people are struggling through a drought and also that there is less pressure on those places with less water to use.
The worst drought in fifty years is going on in Brazil and has been for the last twenty-seven months. More than 58 million people live in the affected area – more than one-third of those living under extreme drought worldwide. The drought in Brazil is taking its toll on crops and pasture. Farmers are having to set priorities and growing low water usage crops. Ethanol producers are receiving subsidies.
While Brazil seems to have it the worst right now, it’s certainly no picnic in the rest of the drought areas.