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Natural causes of Drought: EL NINO

El Nino is the weather condition where trade winds begin to blow in the opposite direction and so the direction of the Pacific Ocean current changes. Low pressure moves from Australia to South America and high pressure moves from South America to Australia. This causes Australia to have drought and South America to have flooding instead of normal conditions which are reversed.

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Natural causes vs Human causes of Drought


Temperature- High temperatures result in more evapotranspiration than precipitation leading to more water loss to the atmosphere.

High pressure- High pressure is when air sinks as opposed to rising so less clouds form leading to less precipitation.


Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere so the average temperature of the Earth increases changing rainfall patterns as land temperature changes. This causes lack of rainfall and there are higher temperatures leading to drought.

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Kenya Drought: Cause and Impacts

Kenya's drought occurred in 2009. It happened due to deforestation and therefore climate change. Thousands of trees were cut down in the Mau forest by farmers and illegal loggers leading to less evapotranspiration and therefore less precipitation and a drought occurring.

Impacts:      SOCIAL             ECONOMIC             ENVIRONMENTAL

19 million people suffered food and water shortages leading to dehydration and starvation. People are forced to drink contaminated water leading to diseases such as cholera. People can't wash so hygeine levels decrease. Food cannot be grown as crops fail due to lack of water.

Food prices increase as it must be imported so people have to find money to buy food. Money spent on food limits the chance for children to go to school.

Animals die due to a lack of water and food so animals like lions, wildebeests and zebras start to die. Crops fail badly due to a lack of water. Rivers and lakes dry up like the RIVER NJORO and the LAKE NAKURU which threatened 1.5 million flamingos as they have nowhere to live or no water to drink.

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Kenya Drought: Response

Individuals: Hold regular prayers and are encouraged to help charities build fresh water wells where fresh water can be obtained.

Farmers: Stop growing crops in the Mau forest and cutting it down. Farmers are rehoused. Farmers can plant drought-resistant crops but they can also use the magic stone method (stones are lined up and water trickles down and gets trapped by the stones. Soil gathers on top of the stones shielding the water so that the sun cannot evaporate it and so ther will be moist soil in drought conditions.

Government: Worked with UNICEF to reduce the suffering of those with no food and water. Pumped water out of boreholes to provide to animals.

Charities: Oxfam launch aappeals to bring food to those in Kenya. Water aid tried to improve access to clean water. Other countries also gave aid like the UK giving £15 million.

MEDCs do these methods that LEDCs may not afford:

  • Use drip and spinkle systems.
  • Build water resevoirs to improve water supplies.
  • Seawater greenhouses evaporate salt from seawater using solar power-drinking water
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