More than 4,000 people have been killed since 2014 as a result of the world’s worst drought, the UN’s top climate official said Wednesday.
The global average for daily rainfall has dropped from an average of 10.6mm per day in 2015 to just 6.1mm this year, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said at a climate conference in New York.
The average for the past 15 years has dropped to just 4.9mm, Figuere said.
The total amount of water lost annually since 1950 is now around 1.2 billion cubic meters, a fraction of what was lost during the 20th century, Figures said.
Figueres was speaking in New Orleans after announcing the first global water monitoring program in years.
She said the water loss has already started to impact human lives, as well as the food supply.
“It is a serious crisis that needs to be dealt with,” she said.
“The drought is the most serious threat we have faced since the industrial revolution.”
The UN said that since 2014, the world has lost more than 10 billion cubic metres of water.
This is equivalent to the size of the UK, Canada and Germany combined.
More than 2.5 billion people live in drought-stricken areas in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, according to the UN.