Afghanistan: Three million people are affected by drought

5 October, 2011
Hafiz Jan and his son collect water from a filthy canal in Chaghcharan, capital of Ghor Province, western Afghanistan. Credit: IRIN/Mohammad Popal
Hafiz Jan and his son collect water from a filthy canal in Chaghcharan, capital of Ghor Province, western Afghanistan. Credit: IRIN/Mohammad Popal

An estimated three million people are affected by drought in 14 provinces of Afghanistan and they need urgent help with food, nutrition, healthcare and clean water. On 1 October the Humanitarian Country Team in Afghanistan launched an appeal for US $142 million to help the Government provide them with life-saving assistance.

Drought conditions have gradually developed in the north, northeast and west of the country because of limited snow and rainfall last winter and spring. This has led to severe crop shortfalls - up to 80% in rain-fed wheat crops - in an area that is already chronically food insecure.

Peter Crowley, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator and UNICEF Country Representative in Afghanistan stressed that, “This drought further exacerbates an already critical situation for many communities in conflict-affected, insecure and under-developed areas.”

The funding is needed to help people with food security, nutrition, health and access to water to prevent their situation from deteriorating before the winter and spring lean seasons begin in December. People in the four provinces of Ghor, Daikundi, Bamyan and parts of Badakshan are likely to be particularly affected, given that their next harvest isn’t expected until late next year.

Food Security and Agriculture partners conducted an Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) in July and August. This found that food assistance needs to be scaled up along with a combination of health, nutrition, water and sanitation activities, to prevent malnutrition and outbreaks of communicable diseases. Cash transfers will help people buy food in local markets.

The 2011 Afghanistan Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) is currently 58% funded. “There is always a humanitarian imperative to respond”, said Mr. Crowley. “This must also be complemented by an increasing focus on development to prevent the impact of drought on vulnerable communities in the years ahead.”

More>> Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan (Emergency Revision in Response to Drought)  -  OCHA Press Release