Prolonged drought puts families at risk in Afghanistan

 

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.  

 

 

Before and after images showing the impact of the drought in Badghis province.

How is World Vision responding to the drought in Afghanistan?

World Vision has been working in Afghanistan since 2002, and is the only international NGO in Badghis with reach beyond the provincial capital.

Our team on the ground plans to respond to urgent needs for drinking water, emergency food rations, and seed and farming kits among 169,000 people across five districts of Badghis province if funding allows. 

Once urgent needs have been met, staff hope to work with affected communities to address long-term food and fodder challenges.

Our current projects in Afghanistan span three provinces where we are working with communities to improve rural livelihoods, develop irrigation and drinking water systems, and to promote peace building and women’s empowerment. These projects are funded by the governments of Australia, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as various UN agencies.

 
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I only feed my children with bread once a day. No one hears our voice; no one feels our pain.

This mother has been forced to move her family to a neighbouring province after they lost all their livestock to the drought.