A prolonged drought is affecting large parts of Afghanistan following the lowest snowfall and rain in more than 17 years.
Shortages of food and drinking water are already being felt, particularly in rural areas where most families depend on farming for their survival.
In the western province of Badghis, where World Vision has development projects, hungry families have been forced to sell their livestock at extremely low prices so they can buy food. The sale price of one sheep in the local market has plunged from US$150 to US$28 and is dropping further with each passing day.
Some parts of the drought-hit region are faring better than others. For example, in areas where World Vision is implementing an Australian Government-funded agriculture project, it’s expected that farmers will experience just a 10 percent reduction in crop yields. But in other areas where farmers remain completely reliant on rainfall, crops are expected to be down by 70 percent.
World Vision staff in the region report that families are exhausting their coping mechanisms and many are moving to other provinces in search of better conditions.
There is a real danger that without help desperate families may resort to selling their children, particularly their daughters for dowry, to survive.