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Jakarta Post

Ready for the dry years: Building resilience to drought in Southeast Asia

  • Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana and Dato Lim Jock Hoi

    Bangkok/Jakarta

Bangkok/Jakarta   /   Fri, November 27 2020   /  01:00 am
Tulungagung Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) personnel deliver clean water for residents in the regency in East Java on Aug. 31. The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) estimates that several regions in the country will be hit by extreme drought during the transition from dry to rainy season.(Antara/Destyan Sujarwoko)

Southeast Asia has long endured severe droughts, which occur on average every five years. The prolonged 2015 and 2018 droughts were the worst on record for two decades. They simultaneously affected more than 70 percent of the land area, with over 325 million people exposed. No ASEAN member states was spared from the devastating impacts including the disruption to livelihoods and food security, as well as forest fires and haze. The drivers of drought risk in South-East Asia are inherently complex, resulting in considerable year-to-year variations. Drought is heavily influenced by various climatic drivers, mainly the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). Yet, despite this complexity, clear trends point to an intensifying drought risk across the region. New analysis of observed data and climate projections in the second edition of Ready for the D...