Afghanistan: Drought - Apr 2018Ongoing
The evolving drought situation exacerbates underlying challenges to food security from conflict and weak labour markets. WFP is preparing for a possible drought response to up to 1 million people. (WFP, 31 Mar 2018)
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. (OCHA, 25 Apr 2018)
Forecasts indicate below-average to average precipitation for the remaining weeks of the spring wet season. Along with cumulative precipitation deficits, the below-average forecast is reflective of a low frequency of storms entering the region, increasing the risk for extended periods of dryness that could impact agricultural production. (FEWS NET, 4 May 2018)
Badghis, Balkh, Faryab, Jawzjan, Hilmand, Nimroz, Uruzgan, Kubduz, Takhar, Herat, Ghor and Farah are among the worst affected provinces. The population in these dry spells affected provinces, which are most ikely to need support in the areas of nutrition and food security, water and sanitation, emergency shelter and non-food items... The government launched a USD 100 million appeal in mid-April through MAIL for immediate livestock protection for an initial two months of assistance for fodder/feed support and an overall demand of USD 550 million for a 10 months fodder / feed support throughout the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. (IFRC, 16 May 2018)
In the 20 provinces most affected by the drought, nearly 15 million people rely on farming, livestock or labour opportunities in agriculture. Of these, an estimated 2 million people will become severely food insecure due to the drought. Humanitarian partners are ramping up their response across the country (see map next page), trying to reach 1.4 million of the most vulnerable girls, boys, women and men struck by the drought. Partners urgently need $115 million; the majority of this amount will provide food support to help families through the lean season and to provide them with drinking water for six months. (OCHA, 25 May 2018)
Food security outcomes in the agropastoral areas are worse than is typical during the spring and summer months. Livestock productivity and body conditions are below normal levels in many areas due to very poor rangeland conditions, leading to low income from livestock sales and limited household availability of livestock products. Most rangeland areas have received well below average rainfall amounts, except for localized parts of western, southwestern, and southeastern provinces. (FEWS NET, 31 May 2018)
In Hilmand, 150,000 heads of livestock have died due to the drought, according to authorities, and the water table has significantly dropped in nine districts. At present, there are no reports yet of migration movementsin the Southern Region due to the ongoing drought. The Dasht-e-Hawz site designated for the assistance of drought-migrated families north of Hirat City, Hirat, has proven unsuitable due to remoteness and harsh climatic conditions.Authorities relocated all remaining 2,500 people on the site back to Hirat City. According to provincial authorities, there is no land that they could allocate to the families to build temporary shelter. Around Qala-e-Naw, Badghis, farmers have given up hope for the harvest and started feeding the wheat that could not germinate to cattle. (OCHA, 03 June 2018).
Although several significant precipitation events during late spring helped alleviate dryness across the country, late rainfall was not sufficient to mitigate seasonal dryness in many parts of the country, which is most severe in the northwest but also significant across much of the north, northeast, southwest and central provinces. Field reports confirm that area planted for rainfed wheat is less than that of last year due to dry soil conditions and the use of extended areas for grazing, while a significant proportion of planted rainfed areas may have reduced yields due to dryness. (FEWS NET, 06 June 2018).
The lives of a million people are critically affected by drought in Afghanistan. Another 2 million people could be affected in the coming months. Food insecurity and reduced access to safe water are beginning to take their toll in the 10 worst affected provinces. Currently, more than 20 000 people have already been displaced to the province of Herat in western Afghanistan from neighbouring provinces due to the drought. (WHO, 15 June 2018).
The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) has been revised to to include response to the drought and now calls for $547 million. The additional funding will allow humanitarian partners to incorporate assistance to 1.4 million people mostly affected by the drought in the sectors of food security and agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene and nutrition.(OCHA, 31 May 2018).
Early assessments by local authorities indicate that more than 50,000 people could be affected by the loss of crops and livestock and will be forced to move in the near future. (IFRC, 05 July 2018)
The intense drought between April and September is expected to further aggravate the already poor malnutrition status within the 20 affected provinces, and the impact may extend to December. As a result, an increase in acute malnutrition caseload between July and December 2018 is expected. In addition, the severity of acute malnutrition among children under five may get worse, resulting in cases that are more complicated. As of 19 July, it is reasonable to assume that the increase in magnitude and severity of acute malnutrition and disease will stretch the capacity of health facilities to provide treatment, and that in the medium to long-term, children will face heightened vulnerability to morbidity and mortality. (WHO, 19 Jul 2018).
In Hirat City, Hirat, humanitarian teams identified more than 51,000 people who have recently migrated to the city from drought-affected areas in neighbouring Badghis and Ghor provinces. The families are living in dozens of sites on the outskirts of the cities in makeshift shelters. In Qala-e-Naw, Bagdhis, teams identified nearly 7,000 people who have moved from rural areas to the provincial capital due to the drought. Cash distributions have started for these displaced families. The Government has distributed wheat grain to 15,000 families in four districts of Badghis, and WFP is preparing to distribute 1,250 metric tons of food in two districts of the same province. (OCHA, 23 Jul 2018)
Poor households in the northern areas will be the most affected by the drought due to reduced household wheat stocks and income from on-farm labor where food consumption deficits will continue through the next harvest (Spring 2019). Poor households in central areas of the country dependent on remittances from migrant workers in Iran are expected to see a decrease in remittances and further weakening of the Iranian rial (IRR) against the U.S. Dollar (USD) and Afghani (AFN) to drive low incomes. (FEWS NET, 31 Jul 2018)
As of 6 August, approximately 4,000 people arrived in Qala-e-Naw, Badghis, during the past week, reportedly displaced by drought from Muqur district. In Kunduz Province, more than 10,000 people have reportedly been displaced between different districts due to the drought. In drought affected areas, NGOs and UN agencies are providing assistance including cash for food, water trucking and food distributions. In Hirat alone, humanitarian partners have finalised cash distributions to more than 60,000 people affected by the drought. (OCHA, 6 Aug 2018)
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