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By D. Wilhite

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Political factors and power relationships have usually been underplayed in these frameworks. For example, institutionalized exploitation and discrimination between individuals, households, and groups are often overlooked. Yet these may be a key determinant of whether a particular ethnic group will have access to productive assets such as land and to relief resources provided by government. Similarly, many war-torn countries are also drought prone. B. org. Drought as Hazard: Understanding the Natural and Social Context 15 political economy analysis, explicitly including issues of power (Collinson, 2003).

It occurs in both high- and low-rainfall areas and in virtually all climate regimes. Our experience suggests scientists, policy makers, and the public often associate drought only with arid, semiarid, and subhumid regions. In reality, drought occurs in most nations, in both dry and humid regions, and often on a yearly basis. The intensity, epicenter, and size of the area affected by drought will vary annually (see Chapter 12), but its presence is nearly always being felt. This reality supports the need for a national strategy (see Chapters 5 and 6).

Thus, for example, a population living in a war-torn country is inevitably more vulnerable to a natural hazard such as drought. Traditionally, the approach to understanding vulnerability has emphasized economic and social factors. This is most evident in the livelihoods frameworks that have underpinned much vulnerability assessment work. , 2001). Political factors and power relationships have usually been underplayed in these frameworks. For example, institutionalized exploitation and discrimination between individuals, households, and groups are often overlooked.

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