Throughout southern Africa, millions of people, especially children and youth, are affected by drought. Though young people are usually the most affected, they are rarely given the opportunity to voice their concerns and experiences with drought disasters. This study explores the vulnerabilities of children and youth during drought in Botswana, which is highly susceptible to drought disasters. Using face-to-face interviews and participatory rural appraisal (picture drawing and story telling) the researcher collected data from adult caregivers and 30 young people (ages 10–18). The study demonstrates that the needs of children and youth during drought go well beyond physical survival. Children also experience emotional distress during times of disaster, which emerges from fears of being separated from family, the loss of educational opportunities, mounting tensions and pressures within the household, a lack of emotional support at the family level, and increased workloads. Gender, age, family structure, and roles within the household all affect children's vulnerability and the ways that they cope with drought disaster as well as other stresses related to poverty and HIV/AIDS.
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