Communities affected by drought in Afghanistan are struggling with hunger

This past winter season, Afghanistan experienced better precipitation over the last three years. However, reports suggest that many parts of the country will be hit by flooding and landslides, which will increase the number of people in need.


Consecutive drought in the last three years – followed by a severe drought during the 2017/2018 wet season – hit almost two out of three provinces in Afghanistan, destabilizing the lives of vulnerable families and pressuring the adoption of negative coping strategies. The varied coping strategies include distress sale of productive assets (livestock and land), indebtedness and displacement from rural to urban areas, especially in the West region.

The severe drought compounded the chronic food insecurity caused mainly by the years of conflict and recurrent natural disasters. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, an estimated 13.5 million people across the country are severely food insecure.

The hardest hit area was the western region, where more than 300 000 people have fled to Badghis, Ghor and Herat provinces. In Herat, more than 1 million people are in dire need of food and water. This figure has been added upon an already number of drought-affected people, who are in immediate need of emergency assistance in Herat.

Rezeshk, a poor village in Herat, was particularly affected by the drought. Families living in this village are highly dependent on farming and their livestock to make a living. The persisting drought in this village resulted in crop production losses, animal mortality and morbidity, distress sale of livestock and outbreak of human diseases due to lack of nutritious food.

For 60-year-old Ziba, a Rezeshk-native living in a household of ten members, this is the reality. Agriculture is the main source of income for her and her family. But this year, their animal failed to produce enough milk and their crops failed due to water shortage. “The drought has ruined our lives. Our crop production has become low and we do not get enough nutritious food. We all have become sick,” she said.

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