Drought vs. Famine - What's the difference?

Main Difference

The main difference between Drought and Famine is that the Drought is a extended period when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply and Famine is a widespread scarcity of food followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.

Wikipedia

  • Drought

    A drought or drouth is a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region and harm to the local economy. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent bush fires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour. Many plant species, such as those in the family Cactaceae (or cacti), have drought tolerance adaptations like reduced leaf area and waxy cuticles to enhance their ability to tolerate drought. Some others survive dry periods as buried seeds. Semi-permanent drought produces arid biomes such as deserts and grasslands. Prolonged droughts have caused mass migrations and humanitarian crisis. Most arid ecosystems have inherently low productivity. The most prolonged drought ever in the world in recorded history occurred in the Atacama Desert in Chile (400 Years).

  • Famine

    A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every inhabited continent in the world has experienced a period of famine throughout history. In the 19th and 20th century, it was generally Southeast and South Asia, as well as Eastern and Central Europe that suffered the most deaths from famine. The numbers dying from famine began to fall sharply from the 2000s. Some countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, continue to have extreme cases of famine. Since 2010, Africa has been the most affected continent in the world. As of 2017, the United Nations has warned some 20 million are at risk in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. The distribution of food has been affected by conflict. Most programmes now direct their aid towards Africa.

Wiktionary

  • Drought (noun)

    A period of unusually low rainfall, longer and more severe than a dry spell.

  • Drought (noun)

    A longer than expected term without success, particularly in sport.

  • Famine (noun)

    Extreme shortage of food in a region.

  • Famine (noun)

    A period of extreme shortage of food in a region.

  • Famine (noun)

    Starvation or malnutrition.

  • Famine (noun)

    Severe shortage or lack of something.

Oxford Dictionary

  • Drought (noun)

    a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water

    "the cause of Europe's recent droughts"

    "crops have failed because of drought"

  • Drought (noun)

    a prolonged absence of a specified thing

    "he ended a five-game goal drought"

  • Drought (noun)

    thirst

    "I asked for something to slake my drought"

Webster Dictionary

  • Drought (noun)

    Dryness; want of rain or of water; especially, such dryness of the weather as affects the earth, and prevents the growth of plants; aridity.

  • Drought (noun)

    Thirst; want of drink.

  • Drought (noun)

    Scarcity; lack.

  • Famine (noun)

    General scarcity of food; dearth; a want of provisions; destitution.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Drought (noun)

    a temporary shortage of rainfall

  • Drought (noun)

    a prolonged shortage

  • Famine (noun)

    an acute insufficiency

  • Famine (noun)

    a severe shortage of food (as through crop failure) resulting in violent hunger and starvation and death

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