There is no official definition of the word ‘drought’. It means different things to different people.
In England, central and southeastern parts of the country have been suffering from below-average rainfall for almost two years. A drought here is likely to result in nothing worse than the imposition of a ban on the use of garden hosepipes and a drop in crop yields.
In other parts of the world, drought may mean near-certain death, particularly when economic and political factors come into play.
El Nino-Southern Oscillation and climate change are likely to affect the pattern of drought in years to come.
Our gallery shows the impact of current droughts around the world.