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Afghanistan: Funding urgently needed as drought threatens 1M food insecure people

25 Apr 2018

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A drought is bringing yet more suffering to 1 million already food insecure people across two thirds of the country. Some 13 million people are now food insecure, 8 million of whom are severely food insecure. But based on available resources, the humanitarian community can only support 90,000 people (less than 10 per cent of the dry spell-affected population) for just two months.

La Niña has had a devastating effect on this year’s planting season, with a rain, snow and sleet deficit of 70 per cent prevailing across most of the country. With last year’s wheat production already reported to be 57 per cent below the five-year average, the 2018 harvest is forecast to be even lower: down from 4.2 million metric tons to 3.5 million metric tons.

In the past week, there have been reports of drought-affected families moving from rural to urban areas (from Badghis Province to Herat city, for example) to find day-labour opportunities. Further displacements of families for economic reasons are expected over the coming months, as the spring crop cultivation has also been compromised by low snowmelt, which is the main source of agriculture water for spring and summer cultivation.

Approximately US$100 million in funding is required to provide emergency food assistance to 1 million people for six months.

Toby Lanzer, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, is leading the humanitarian community in its preparation of the contingency plan and funding appeal.

Photos: OCHA/Toma Dursina