The study shows that the cumulative impacts of drought in the region strikes hardest at the poor and heightens inequality, as well as degrades land and increases the prospects of violent conflict.
Droughts can also be particularly damaging in countries where many people rely on agriculture for primary employment, it said.
According to the report, 61 percent of population in Laos, 41 percent in Vietnam, 31 percent in Indonesia, 27 percent in Cambodia and 26 percent in the Philippines depend on agriculture.
The study proposes three priority areas of intervention for ESCAP and ASEAN, including strengthening drought risk assessment and early warning services, fostering risk financing instruments and enhancing people’s capacities to adapt to drought.
ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi said priority areas mentioned in the report will contribute to developing policy responses to mitigate the impact of future drought and eventually will strengthen efforts on building the ASEAN Community that is resilient to drought.
Over the last three decades, drought affects over 66 million people on the Southeast Asian region.
The study was produced as part of ESCAP and ASEAN’s close collaboration on disaster risk reduction under the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management.-